Does Participation in International Organizations Increase Cooperation? Evidence from the ICC, UNHRC, and UNSC
Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS)
June 15, 2011
Recent research asserts that public commitments to international institutions promote behavior that is consistent with institutional purposes. Evidence for this proposition is based almost entirely on studies that compare the behavior of states that have and have not ratified treaties. This paper evaluates instances in which some member states temporarily experience increased entanglement with an IO because they or their nationals serve in a position of authority. Unlike selection into IOs, selection into positions of authority is often governed by a common, observable, and partially exogenous process. I employ a regression discontinuity design and exploit exogenous exit and random assignment to different term lengths in three contexts: the International Criminal Court (ICC), the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), and the UN Security Council (UNSC). The analyses demonstrate that acquiring a position of authority in an IO can make states make more willing to reject U.S. advances to sign non-surrender agreements, adopt domestic legislation that changes the penal code (ICC case), ratify legally binding treaties (UNHRC case), and even send its own soldiers into dangerous peacekeeping missions (UNSC case). On the other hand, there is no evidence that UN institutions successfully select more cooperative states for positions of authority. Similar research designs can gainfully be employed to identify the causal effects of other forms of institutional participation.
Keywords: United Nations, ICC, Regression-discontinuity, UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Councilworking papers series
Date posted: June 15, 2011 ; Last revised: June 22, 2011
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