Skip to main content

Not letting ‘bad apples’ spoil the bunch: Democratization and strict international organization accession rules

Abstract

To solve their domestic and international problems, democratizing states often form new international organizations. In doing so, they face the question of institutional design: what types of rules and provisions should be included in the charter of the new international organization? We analyze this question through the lens of accession rules, with an emphasis on voting rules. We argue that democratizing states have strong incentives to design organizations with strict accession rules. Organizations with strict accession rules allow the founding members to regulate entry. This is particularly useful for transitional democracies, as democratizing states are initially unable to gain entry into the lucrative existing international organizations operated by the established democracies. Using original data on accession voting rules in 324 international organizations, we find strong evidence in support of our claims.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. “Three Visegrad Leaders Discuss Ties,” 14 March 1992, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report: East Europe (hereafter, FBIS-EEU) 25. March 1992: 2–3.

  2. In doing so, Italy argued that Slovenian legislation on the purchase of land by foreigners was not in line with EU law.

  3. Newly created IOs also provide a low cost avenue through which “sponsoring” established democracies can supply resources or advice. For example, when they began the process of democratization, the Baltic states formed the Baltic Peacekeeping Batallion (BALTBAT) in 1994. Besides providing a mechanism by which they could coordinate defense policies and pool their limited materials, many Nordic countries provided basic military equipment and training in civil military relations (Ito 2013). Contributing to BALTBAT was low cost to the established democracies because (1) the established democracies were not fully responsible for designing BALTBAT and (2) the advice and resources were not to the level of that offered to a country joining an IO, such as NATO, to which some of the Nordic democracies were already a members. But while the resources and advice might have been of a lesser quality, they were of immense value to the democratizing states (who require all forms of technical and material assistance).

  4. Joining the newly created IO can be attractive from the perspective of the “bad apples”. The new IO can influence a host of policies, such as regional security and trade cooperation. The efforts by the democratizing states to cooperate on these policies will produce externalities that influence non-members. Hence, non-members will wish to have a say over these policies.

  5. As Downs et al. (1998) argue, the deepening of cooperation in an IO will slow as less and less enthusiastic states join. But see Gilligan (2004) for why the broader-deeper trade-off does not exist for all kinds of organizations and treaties.

  6. “The Agreement on Amendment of and Agreement to the Central European Free Trade Agreement.” Available at http://www.cefta.int. Accessed on November 5, 2014.

  7. “Three Visegrad Leaders Discuss Ties,” 14 March 1992, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report: East Europe (hereafter, FBIS-EEU) 25. March 1992: 2–3.

  8. “Three Visegrad Leaders Discuss Ties,” 14 March 1992, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report: East Europe (hereafter, FBIS-EEU) 25. March 1992: 2–3.

  9. Democracy designations based on when country achieved a Polity IV score of 6 or above.

  10. English translation of treaty text available at http://www.worldtradelaw.net/document.php?id=fta/agreements/mercosurfta.pdf. Accessed on April 30, 2015.

  11. Quoted in “The Expansion of Mercosur” The Economist August 3, 2012. Avail- able at http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2012/08/ expansion-mercosur. Accessed on April 28, 2015.

  12. Treaty text available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/Treaty%20constituting%20the%20European%20Coal%20and%20Steel%20Community.pdf.

  13. Translated as “The underlying balance of interests”.

  14. Thereby highlighting how, under particular circumstances, even an established democracy can be considered a “bad apple”.

  15. In a related study, Blake and Payton (2015) measure the voting rules within the decision-making process of an institution, but not specifically the accession rules. They find that a vast majority (97 %) have voting rules, which is the exact opposite of accession rules (where a majority have no rule).

  16. While space does not permit a list of all the relevant treaty articles in the main text, Appendix C provides the accession treaty articles for these 103 IOs.

  17. Article 56 of the European Free Trade Association Convention. Available at http://www.Efta.int. Accessed on April 5, 2014.

  18. Article 33 of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs 1947. Available at http://www.wto.org. Accessed on April 5, 2014.

  19. Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty. Available at http://www.nato.int. Accessed on April 5, 2014.

  20. The fact that unanimous voting is the most common of the super-majority categories opens a number of avenues for informal governance procedures since, as described in the introduction, it can allow one intransigent existing member to stop the accession of an otherwise worthy state.

  21. There is no standard in international relations for when a state should be considered a democracy on the Polity scale. For example, some studies use a rather conservative measure of polity ≥ 7 (Mansfield and Pevehouse 2008), while others adopt a more generous coding of polity ≥ 5 (Lai and Reiter 2000; Gibler 2008). We follow Jaggers and Gurr (1995); Marshall et al. (2010) by using the middle of these two options.

  22. In many respects, Table 2, due to strict adherence to our coding rules, provides a conservative depiction of the relationship between democratization and the formation of IOs with strict accession voting rules. For example, MERCOSUR’s creation in 1991 is not included on this list because, according our coding rules for democratization, Paraguay was one year away from democratization (1992), and Brazil and Uruguay had been democratizing for 6 years (1985).

  23. For this analysis, we have a sample of 304 IOs because several IOs existed for less than 5 years.

  24. The - 6 value results from autocratic states leaving the IO over the first 5 years of the IO’s existence.

  25. Institutionalization data are from Boehmer et al. (2004) and Ingram et al. (2005), while IO function data are based on the authors' own modifications to the membership data from Mansfield and Pevehouse (2008, 290).

  26. This removes 18 observations from the group of IOs where at least one democratizing state was involved in the IOs' creation and 26 observations from the group of IOs where no democratizing states were involved in the IOs' creation.

References

  • Abbott, K. W., & Snidal, D. (1998). Why states act through formal international organizations. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 42(1), 3–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Abbott, K. W., & Snidal, D. (2010). International regulation without international government: improving IO performance through orchestration. Review of International Organizations, 5(3), 315–344.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blake, Daniel, and Autumn Lockwood Payton. (2015). Balancing design objectives: analyzing new data on voting rules in intergovernmental organizations. The Review of International Organizations 10(3):337–402.

  • Boehmer, C., Gartzke, E., & Nordstrom, T. (2004). Do intergovernmental organizations promote peace? World Politics, 57(1), 1–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Camps, Miriam. 1959. Britain and the European Market, The Free Trade Area Negotiations. Political and Economic Planning Occasional Paper No. 2.

  • Camps, Miriam. 1960. Britain and the European Market, Division in Europe. Political and Economic Planning Occasional Paper No. 8..

  • Dahl, R., & Tufte, E. (1973). Size and democracy. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davis, Christina. 2013. Membership conditionality and institutional reform: the case of the OECD. Unpublished Working Paper.

  • Davis, Christina, and Meredith Wilf. 2012. Joining the club: accession to the GATT/WTO. Unpublished Working Paper.

  • Conseil de la Republique, ed. 1952. Débats Parlementaires, Communauté européenne du charbon et de lacierSuite de la discussion et adoption dun avis sur un projet de loi, Session de 1952Compte Rendu in Extenso. Vol. 28e Séance Conseil de la Republique.

  • de Mesquita, B., Bruce, A. S., Siverson, R. M., & Morrow, J. D. (2003). The logic of political survival. Cambridge: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Downs, G. W., Rocke, D. M., & Barsoom, P. N. (1998). Managing the evolution of multilateralism. International Organization, 52(2), 397–419.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gardini, G. L. (2010). The Origins of Mercosur: Democracy and Regionalization in South America. New York: Palgrave.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Gerring, John, and Dominic Zarecki. 2011. Size and democracy revisited. DISC Working Papers.

  • Gibler, D. M. (2008). The costs of reneging: reputation and alliance formation. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 52(3), 426–455.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gilligan, M. J. (2004). Is there a broader-deeper trade-off in international multilateral agreements? International Organization, 58(3), 459–484.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Haggard, S., & Kaufman, R. R. (1995). The political economy of democratic transitions. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Haggard, S., & Kaufman, R. R. (1997). The political economy of democratic transitions. Comparative Politics, 29(3), 263–283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Helicke, James C. 2012. Turkey’s Accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 1945–1952: A Qualified Success? In Melissa P. Yeager, and Charles carter (Ed). Pacts and Alliances in History: Diplomatic Strategy and The Politics of Coalitions, I.B. Tauris.

  • Ingram, P., Robinson, J., & Busch, M. L. (2005). The intergovernmental network of world trade: IGO connectedness, governance, and embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 111(3), 824–858.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ito, P. (2013). Baltic Military Cooperation Projects: A Record of Success. In T. Lawrence, & T. Jermalvicius (Eds.), Apprenticeship, Partnership, Membership: Twenty Years of Defence Development in the Baltic States (pp. 240–275). Tallinn: International Centre for Defence Studies.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jaggers, K., & Gurr, T. R. (1995). Tracking democracy’s third wave with the polity III data. Journal of Peace Research, 32(4), 469–482.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Koremenos, B., Lipson, C., & Snidal, D. (2001). The rational design of international institutions. International Organization, 55(4), 761–799.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kydd, A. (2001). Trust building, trust breaking: the dilemma of NATO enlargement. International Organization, 55(4), 801–828.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lai, B., & Reiter, D. (2000). Democracy, political similarity, and international alliances, 1816–1992. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 44(2), 203–227.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mansfield, E. D., & Pevehouse, J. C. (2006). Democratization and international organizations. International Organization, 60(1), 137–167.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mansfield, E. D., & Pevehouse, J. C. (2008). Democratization and the varieties of international organizations. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 52(2), 269–294.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marshall, Monty, Keith Jaggers, and Ted Robert Gurr. 2010. Polity IV Project: Dataset Userss Manual.

  • Mattli, W., & Plümper, T. (2004). The internal value of external options: how the EU shapes the scope of regulatory reforms in transition countries. European Union Politics, 5(3), 307–330.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meyer, F. V. (1960). The European Free Trade Association, An Analysis of The Outer Seven. New York: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moravcsik, A. (2000). The origins of human rights regimes: democratic delegation in postwar Europe. International Organization, 54(2), 217–252.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • March, J. G., & Olsen, J. P. (1998). The institutional dynamics of international political orders. International Organization, 52(4), 943–969.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pevehouse, J. C. (2005). Democracy from Above: Regional Organizations and Democratization. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Poast, P., & Urpelainen, J. (2013). Fit and feasible: why democratizing states form, not join, international organizations. International Studies Quarterly, 57(4), 831–841.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Prunier, G. (2008). Africa’s World War Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Przeworski, A., Alvarez, M. E., Cheibub, J. A., & Limongi, F. (2000). Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-being in the World, 1950–1990. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Reuter, P. (1953). La Communauté Européenne du Charbon et de l’Acier. Paris: Librarie Générale de Droits et de Jurisprudence.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rudka, A., & Mizsei, K. (1994). The fall of trade in east-Central Europe: is CEFTA the right solution? Russian and East European Finance and Trade, 30(1), 6–31.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schimmelfennig, F. (2005). Strategic calculation and international socialization: membership incentives, party constellations, and sustained compliance in central and eastern Europe. International Organization, 59(4), 827–860.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schneider, C. J., & Urpelainen, J. (2012). Accession rules for international institutions: a legitimacy-efficacy trade-off? Journal of Conflict Resolution, 56(2), 290–312.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scuppa, G. (1955-1956). La clause d’adhésion et ses modalités d’application dans le traité instituant la communauté européenne du charbon et de l’acier. Saar-Europa: Hefte des Europa, 2, 70–80.

  • Shaffer, G. (2005). Can WTO technical assistance and capacity-building serve developing countries? Wisconsin International Law Journal, 23(4), 643–686.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shanks, C., Jacobson, H. K., & Kaplan, J. H. (1996). Inertia and change in the constellation of international governmental organizations, 1981–1992. International Organization, 50(4), 593–627.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Steinberg, R. H. (2002). In the shadow of law or power? Consensus-based bargaining and outcomes in the GATT/WTO. International Organization, 56(2), 339–374.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stone, R. W. (2011). Controlling Institutions: International Organizations and the Global Economy. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • The Globe and Mail. 1992. Southern Africa Signs Treaty. August 20.

  • VanDeveer, S. D., & Dabelko, G. D. (2001). It’s capacity, stupid: international Assistance and national implementation. Global Environmental Politics, 1(2), 18–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vignes, D. (1956). La Communauté Européenne du Charbon et de l’Acier. Paris: Librarie Générale de Droits et de Jurisprudence.

    Google Scholar 

  • Whitehead, L. (Ed.) (1996). The International Dimensions of Democratization: Europe and the Americas. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wintrobe, R. (1998). The political economy of dictatorship. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Yeşilbursa, B. K. (1999). Turkey’s participation in the middle east command and its admission to NATO, 1950–52. Middle Eastern Studies, 35(4), 70–102.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul Poast.

Electronic supplementary material

ESM 1

(ZIP 780 kb)

ESM 2

(ZIP 32 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kaoutzanis, C., Poast, P. & Urpelainen, J. Not letting ‘bad apples’ spoil the bunch: Democratization and strict international organization accession rules. Rev Int Organ 11, 399–418 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11558-015-9237-5

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11558-015-9237-5

Keywords

  • Democratization
  • International organization
  • Voting rules
  • Accession criteria