Advertisement

The Review of International Organizations

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 335–366 | Cite as

Hello, goodbye: When do states withdraw from international organizations?

  • Inken von Borzyskowski
  • Felicity VabulasEmail author
Article

Abstract

Under what conditions do states withdraw from intergovernmental organizations (IGOs)? Recent events such as Brexit, the US withdrawal from UNESCO, and US threats to withdraw from NAFTA, NATO, and the World Trade Organization have triggered widespread concern because they appear to signify a backlash against international organizations. Some observers attribute this recent surge to increasing nationalism. But does this explanation hold up as a more general explanation for IGO withdrawals across time and space? Despite many studies of why states join IGOs, we know surprisingly little about when and why states exit IGOs. We use research on IGO accession to derive potential explanations for IGO withdrawal related to domestic politics, IGO characteristics, and geo-politics. We quantitatively test these potential explanations for withdrawal using an original dataset of 493 IGOs since 1945, documenting about 200 cases of withdrawal. We find that nationalism is not the key driver of IGO withdrawals in the past. Instead, we show that geo-political factors – such as preference divergence and contagion – are the main factors linked to IGO withdrawals, followed by democracy levels in the country and organization. These findings have important implications for research on the vitality of international organizations, compliance, and the liberal world order.

Keywords

International organizations Withdrawal International institutions Exit Nationalism Liberal order Compliance International law 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Xinyuan Dai, Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser, Christian Rau, Henning Schmidtke, Duncan Snidal, Alexander Thompson, Svanhildur Thorvaldsdottir, Alexander Tokhi, Stefanie Walter, as well as conference participants at MPSA, PEIO, the Global Governance group at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), and three anonymous reviewers for useful comments and suggestions on earlier drafts. We also thank Richard Saunders for excellent research assistance.

Supplementary material

11558_2019_9352_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (145 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 145 kb)
11558_2019_9352_MOESM2_ESM.do (27 kb)
ESM 2 (DO 27.3 kb)
11558_2019_9352_MOESM3_ESM.dta (157.3 mb)
ESM 3 (DTA 157 mb)

References

  1. Abbott, K. W., & Snidal, D. (1998). Why states act through formal international organizations. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 42(1), 3–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abbott, K. W., & Snidal, D. (2000). Hard and soft law in international governance. International Organization, 54(3), 421–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aust, A. (2013). Modern treaty law and practice. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bailey, M., Strezhnev, A., & Voeten, E. (2017). Estimating dynamic state preferences from United Nations voting data. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 61(2), 430–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnett, M., & Finnemore, M. (1999). The politics, power, and pathologies of international organizations. International Organization, 53(4), 699–732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bearce, D. H., & Bondanella, S. (2007). Intergovernmental organizations, socialization, and member-state interest convergence. International Organization, 61, 703–733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beck, N., Katz, J. N., & Tucker, R. (1998). Taking time seriously: Time-series-cross-section analysis with a binary dependent variable. American Journal of Political Science, 42(4), 1260–1288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beigbeder, Y. (1979). The United States’ withdrawal from the international labor organization. Industrial Relations, 34(2), 223–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blyth, M. (2017). Global Trumpism: Why Trump’s victory was 30 years in the making and why it Won’t stop Here. Foreign Affairs anthology. Google Scholar
  10. Boehmer, C., Gartzke, E., & Nordstrom, T. (2004). Do intergovernmental organizations promote peace? World Politics, 57, 1–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carr, E. H. (1964). The twenty years crisis, 1919–1939: An introduction to the study of international relations (pp. 208–223). New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  12. Carter, D., & Signorino, C. (2010). Back to the future: Modeling time dependence in binary data. Political Analysis, 18(3), 271–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Charnovitz, S. (2017). Why the international exhibitions bureau should choose Minneapolis for global expo 2023. GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works. Google Scholar
  14. Chayes, A., & Chayes, A. (1991). Compliance without enforcement: State behavior under regulatory treaties. Negotiation Journal, 7(3), 311–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cogan, J. K., Hurd, I., & Johnstone, I. (Eds.) 92016). The Oxford handbook of international organizations. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Davis, C. L., & Wilf, M. (2017). Joining the Club? Accession to the GATT/WTO. The Journal of Politics, 79, 964–978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Donno, D. (2010). Who is punished? Regional intergovernmental organizations and the enforcement of democratic norms. International Organization, 64(4), 593–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Donno, D., Metzger, S. K., & Russett, B. (2015). Screening out risk: IGO s, member state selection, and interstate conflict, 1951–2000. International Studies Quarterly, 59(2), 251–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Downs, G. W., Rocke, D. M., & Barsoom, P. N. (1996). Is the good news about compliance good news about cooperation? International Organization, 50(3), 379–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Farrell, H., & Newman, A. (2017). BREXIT, voice and loyalty: Rethinking electoral politics in an age of interdependence. Review of International Political Economy, 24(2), 232–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fearon, J. D. (1997). Signaling foreign policy interests: Tying hands versus sinking costs. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 41(1), 68–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Foa, S. (2016). Its the globalization, stupid. Foreign Policy, Dec 6 2016.Google Scholar
  23. Fukuyama, F. (2016). US against the world? Trump’s America and the new global order’, Financial Times, 11 November 2016.Google Scholar
  24. Gaubatz, K. T. (1996). Democratic states and commitment in international relations. International Organization, 50(1), 109–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gibney, M., Cornett, L., Wood, R. and Haschke, P. (2013). Political terror scale 1976-2012. Available at http://www.politicalterrorscale.org/ Accessed 3 July 2013.
  26. Gilpin, Robert. 1983. War and change in world politics. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Gray, J. (2013). The company states keep: International economic organizations and investor perceptions. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Gray, J. (2018). Life, death, or zombie? The vitality of international organizations. International Studies Quarterly, 62(1), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gray, J., Lindstadt, R. and Slapin, J. B. (Forthcoming). The dynamics of enlargement in international organizations. International Interactions.Google Scholar
  30. Greig, M., Enterline, A. (2017). COW National Material Capabilities (NMC) data documentation, Version 5.Google Scholar
  31. Gruber, L. (2000). Ruling the world: Power politics and the rise of supranational institutions. Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Haas, R. (2018). Liberal world order, R.I.P. Project Syndicate, March 21 2018. Available at https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/end-of-liberal-world-order-by-richard-n%2D%2Dhaass-2018-03?barrier=accesspaylog. Accessed 1 Apr 2018.
  33. Haftel, Y., & Thompson, A. (2018). When do states renegotiate investment agreements? The impact of arbitration. The Review of International Organizations, 13(1), 25–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Haftendorn, H., Keohane, R. O., & Wallander, C. A. (1999). Imperfect unions: Security institutions over time and space. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Hawkins, K., & Kaltwasser, C. R. (2017). The ideational approach to populism. Latin America American Research Review, 52(4), 513–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Helfer, L. R. (2005). Exiting treaties. Virginia Law Review, 91, 1579.Google Scholar
  37. Helfer, L. R. (2006). Not fully committed-reservations, risk, and treaty design. Yale Journal of International Law, 31, 367.Google Scholar
  38. Hill, J. A. (1982). European economic community: The right of member state withdrawal, the. Ga. Journal of International and Comparative Law, 12, 335.Google Scholar
  39. Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, voice, and loyalty: Responses to decline in firms, organizations, and states. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Hobolt, S., and de Vries, C. (2016). Public Support for European Integration. Annual Review of Political Science 19. Annual Reviews: 413–32.Google Scholar
  41. Holsti, O. R. (1992). Public opinion and foreign policy: Challenges to the almond-Lippmann consensus. International Studies Quarterly, 36(4), 439–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Houle, C., & Kenny, P. (2018). The political and economic consequences of populist rule. Government and Opposition., 53, 256–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Huber, R., & Ruth, S. (2017). Mind the gap! Populism, participation and representation in Europe. Swiss Political Science Review, 23(4), 462–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Huber, R., & Schimpf, C. (2016). A drunken guest in Europe? The influence of populist radical right parties on democratic quality. Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft, 10, 103–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hyde, S. D., & Marinov, N. (2011). Codebook for National Elections across Democracy and autocracy (NELDA). New Haven: Yale University.Google Scholar
  46. Iacus, S., King, G., & Porro, G. (2012). Causal inference without balance checking: Coarsened exact matching. Political Analysis, 20(1), 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ikenberry, G. J. (2000). After victory: Institutions, strategic restraint, and the rebuilding of order after major wars. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Ikenberry, J. (2018). The end of liberal international order? International Affairs, 94(1), 7–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Imber, M. F. (1989). The USA, ILO, UNESCO and IAEA: Politicization and withdrawal in the specialized agencies. Springer.Google Scholar
  50. Johnson, T. (2014). Organizational progeny: Why governments are losing control over the proliferating structures of global governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Jones, E. (2018). Towards a theory of disintegration. Journal of European Public Policy 25 (3). Routledge: 440–51.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13501763.2017.1411381.
  52. Jupille, J., Mattli, W., & Snidal, D. (2013). Institutional choice and global commerce. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kagan, R. (2017). The twilight of the liberal world order. Brookings Institution. https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-twilight-of-the-liberal-world-order/. Accessed 30 March 2018.
  54. Kaoutzanis, C., Poast, P., & Urpelainen, J. (2016). Not letting ‘bad apples’ spoil the bunch: Democratization and strict international organization accession rules. Review of International Organization, 11, 399–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Karreth, J., & Tir, J. (2013). International institutions and civil war prevention. Journal of Politics, 75(1), 96–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Keohane, R. (1984). After hegemony: Cooperation and discord in the world political economy. Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Kertzer, J. D., & Brutger, R. (2016). Decomposing audience costs: Bringing the audience back into audience cost theory. American Journal of Political Science, 60(1), 234–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. King, G., & Zeng, L. (2001). Logistic regression in rare events data. Political Analysis, 9(2), 137–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Koremenos, B. (2016). The continent of international law: Explaining agreement design. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Koremenos, B., & Nau, A. (2010). Exit, no exit. Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law, 21, 81.Google Scholar
  61. Koremenos, B., Lipson, C., & Snidal, D. (2001). The rational design of international institutions. International Organization, 55(4), 761–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Kucik, J., & Reinhardt, E. (2008). Does flexibility promote cooperation? An application to the global trade regime. International Organization, 62(3), 477–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Kuo, J., & Naoi, M. (2015). Individual Attitudes. In L. Martin (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Political Economy of International Trade. Oxford: Oxford.Google Scholar
  64. Lall, R. (2017). Beyond institutional design: Explaining the performance of international organizations. International Organization, 71, 245–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Leeds, B. A. (1999). Domestic political institutions, credible commitments, and international cooperation. American Journal of Political Science, 43(4), 979–1002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Leeds, B. A., & Savun, B. (2007). Terminating alliances: Why do states abrogate agreements? The Journal of Politics, 69(4), 1118–1132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Lipson, C. (2003). Reliable partners: How democracies have made a separate peace. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  68. Mansfield, E., & Pevehouse, J. (2006). Democratization and international organizations. International Organization, 60, 137–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Maoz, Z., Johnson, P., Kaplan, J., Ogunkoya, F., and Shreve, A. (2018). The dyadic militarized interstate disputes (MIDs) dataset version 3.0: Logic, characteristics, and comparisons to alternative datasets. Journal of Conflict Resolution. Google Scholar
  70. Marshall, M. and Marshall, D. (2017). Coup d’état events 1946–2016. Center for systematic peace.Google Scholar
  71. Marshall, M.G., Jaggers, K., Gurr, T. (2010). Polity IV project: Characteristics and transitions, 1800–2009. Dataset Users’ Manual. Center for Systemic Peace.Google Scholar
  72. Martin, L. L. (2000). Democratic commitments: Legislatures and international cooperation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. McCall Smith, J. (2000). The politics of dispute settlement design: Explaining legalism in regional trade pacts. International Organization 137-180.Google Scholar
  74. McGillivray, F., & Smith, A. (2000). Trust and cooperation through agent-specific punishments. International Organization, 54(4), 809–824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Milner, H. V., & Tingley, D. H. (2011). Who supports global economic engagement? The sources of preferences in American foreign economic policy. International Organization, 65(1), 37–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Morgan, T. C., & Campbell, S. H. (1991). Domestic structure, decisional constraints, and war: So why Kant democracies fight? Journal of Conflict Resolution, 35(2), 187–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Olson, M. (1965). The logic of collective action: Public goods and the theory of groups. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  78. Orbell, J. M., Schwartz-Shea, P., & Simmons, R. T. (1984). Do cooperators exit more readily than defectors? American Political Science Review, 78(1), 147–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Organski, A. F. K. (1964). World politics. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  80. Pacheco, J. (2012). The social contagion model: Exploring the role of public opinion on the diffusion of antismoking legislation across the American states. The Journal of Politics 74 (1). Cambridge University Press New York, USA: 187–202.Google Scholar
  81. Pelc, K. J. (2009). Seeking escape: The use of escape clauses in international trade agreements. International Studies Quarterly, 53(2), 349–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Penney, E. K. (2002). Is that legal?: The United States' unilateral withdrawal from the anti-ballistic missile treaty. Catholic University Law Review, 51, 1287–1393.Google Scholar
  83. Pevehouse, J. (2002). With a little help from my friends? Regional organizations and the consolidation of democracy. American Journal of Political Science, 46, 611–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Pevehouse, J., and von Borzyskowski, I. (2016). International organizations in world politics. In The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations, edited by Jacob Katz Cogan, Ian Hurd and Ian Johnstone, 3-32.Google Scholar
  85. Pevehouse, J., Nordstrom, T., & Warnke, K. (2004). The correlates of war 2 international governmental organizations data version 2.0. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 21(2), 101–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Pevehouse, J., Nordstrom, T., McManus, R., Jamison, A. (2019). Tracking organizations in the world: The correlates of war IGO data, version 3.0. Working paper. Google Scholar
  87. Putnam, R. (1988). Diplomacy and domestic politics: The logic of two-level games. International Organization, 42(3), 427–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Rosendorff, P., & Milner, H. (2001). The optimal Design of International Trade Institutions: Uncertainty and escape. International Organization, 55(4), 829–857.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Schneider, C. (2017). Political economy of regional integration. Annual Review of Political Science 20 (1). Annual Reviews.Google Scholar
  90. Shukla, S. (2018). International relations on the rise of nationalism: Institutions and global governance. McGill Journal of Political Studies. https://mjps.ssmu.ca/2018/02/09/international-relations-on-the-rise-of-nationalism-institutions-and-global-governance/. Accessed 1 Apr 2018.
  91. Simmons, B. A. (2000). International law and state behavior: Commitment and compliance in international monetary affairs. American Political Science Review, 94(04), 819–835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Simmons, B. A., & Danner, A. (2010). Credible commitments and the international criminal court. International Organization, 64(2), 225–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Singer, J. D., Bremer, S., & Stuckey, J. (1972). Capability distribution, uncertainty, and major power war, 1820-1965. In B. Russett (Ed.), Peace, war, and numbers (pp. 19–48). Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  94. Smith, A. (1995). Alliance formation and war. International Studies Quarterly, 39(4), 405–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Smith, A. (1998). Extended deterrence and Alliance formation. International Interactions, 24(4), 315–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Snyder, J. (2019). The broken bargain. Foreign Affairs, March–April, 54–60.Google Scholar
  97. State Dept. (1997). US Participation in Special Purpose International Organizations. US GAO, NSIAD 97-35.Google Scholar
  98. Stone, R. (2011). Controlling institutions: International organizations and the global economy. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  99. Vabulas, F., & Snidal, D. (2013). Organization without delegation: Informal intergovernmental organizations (IIGOs) and the spectrum of intergovernmental arrangements. The Review of International Organizations, 8(2), 193–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. von Borzyskowski, I. (2019). The credibility challenge: How democracy aid influences election violence. Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  101. von Borzyskowski, I., and Vabulas F. (Forthcoming). Credible Commitments? Explaining IGO Suspensions to Sanction Political Backsliding. International Studies Quarterly.Google Scholar
  102. Wagner, R. H. (2000). Bargaining and war. American Journal of Political Science, 44, 469–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Walter, B. F. (2009). Bargaining failures and civil war. Annual Review of Political Science, 12, 243–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Walter, S. (2018). The mass politics of international disintegration. Paper prepared for presentation at the International Relations research seminar, Harvard University, 8 March 2018. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Pepperdine UniversityMalibuUSA

Personalised recommendations