Third-Party Policymakers and the Limits of the Influence of Indicators
16 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2018
Date Written: June 29, 2018
Ranking and rating states through global performance assessments (GPAs) is increasingly common as a tool of global governance. Existing research shows that GPAs shape rated state behavior through social mechanisms. Yet these mechanisms are unlikely to provoke reform among states resistant to social pressure. In those cases, material power is an important tool of international influence. Do GPAs influence the application of material power? We argue that GPAs attract attention and coordinate material power among third-party states through their production of focal points and provision of political cover. We test our arguments about GPA influence on third parties using Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). We show that while the CPI attracts considerable media attention, it does not influence the allocation of foreign aid, an important lever of international influence, despite the aid community's avowed commitment to good governance. These findings suggest that the promise of GPAs is limited to social forms of influence.
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