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Data and Analyses of Voting in the UN General Assembly

24 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2012  

Erik Voeten

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS)

Date Written: July 17, 2012

Abstract

Roll-call voting in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has long attracted the attention of scholars; first to study the formation of voting blocs in the UNGA and more recently to create indicators for the common interests of states. This chapter discusses the data and the various choices scholars have to make when using these data for both these purposes. The chapter points out various common errors, such as confusing abstentions and absentee votes, and discusses appropriate methodologies for estimating state preferences from observed vote choices. I argue that studies that use UN voting data to measure common interests pay insufficient attention to the content of UN votes and show how ignoring (changes in) the UN’s agenda and dimensions of contestation can lead to serious biases. The chapter reviews characteristics of available data and gives a bird’s eye view of the history of UN voting.

Keywords: United Nations, roll-call voting, voting, state preferences

JEL Classification: F35, N40

Suggested Citation

Voeten, Erik, Data and Analyses of Voting in the UN General Assembly (July 17, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2111149 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2111149

Erik Voeten (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

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