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Credible Commitments? Explaining IGO Suspensions to Sanction Political Backsliding

von Borzyskowski, I; Vabulas, F; (2019) Credible Commitments? Explaining IGO Suspensions to Sanction Political Backsliding. International Studies Quarterly , 63 (1) pp. 139-152. 10.1093/isq/sqy051. Green open access

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Abstract

Why do intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) that espouse democratic commitments suspend the membership of some states that backslide on those commitments, while leaving that of others intact? We argue that a combination of geopolitical factors and institutional rules help explain this inconsistent pattern. Remaining member states insulate geopolitically important states—particularly those with large endowments of oil resources—from suspension. Institutional factors, such as voting rules and the size of the IGO, create veto points that reduce suspensions. Using an original global data set of IGO suspensions and charter commitments from 1980 to 2010, we find strong support for our argument. We test a key assumption of existing scholarship that claims IGOs serve as credible-commitment devices for political reform and democratization. We show that once a state becomes an IGO member, it can often remain in the IGO even after violating its democratic commitments.

Type: Article
Title: Credible Commitments? Explaining IGO Suspensions to Sanction Political Backsliding
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/isq/sqy051
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqy051
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10081835
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