Data and Analyses of Voting in the UN General Assembly
24 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2012
Date Written: July 17, 2012
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: Suggested Citation