It is shown that low dispute costs relative to expected resource rents from oceanic resources favor drawn out disputes over maritime boundaries; asymmetric dispute costs favor agreement on boundaries wanted by the low dispute cost state party; and high symmetric dispute costs favor formation of joint development zones. The fact that most maritime boundaries have not yet been drawn suggests that state parties think that resource rents that can be drawn from the oceans are high relative to dispute costs. Moreover, the recent mini-trend towards JDZs in East Asia suggests that state parties in the area have recently reassessed dispute costs as being higher than previously believed.