Paul Poast and Johannes Urpelainen. 2018. Organizing Democracy: How International Organizations Assist New Democracies (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press)
In Organizing Democracy: How International Organizations Assist New Democracies, Poast and Urpelainen tackle two big research questions related to international organizations (IOs): why do democratizing states seek membership in organizations, and how do organizations help member states become more democratic? These questions are crucial in today’s world where IO membership is certainly not taken for granted and where democracy is being called into question.
The standard answer to these questions – as Poast and Urpelainen note – is credible commitment. Democratizing states join IOs to signal to domestic and international audiences that they are committed to political reforms. IOs tie states’ hands to such reforms by allowing third-party monitoring, compliance verification, and potential international punishment if reforms are not implemented or upheld (Moravcsik 2000; Pevehouse 2002, 2005; Mansfield and Pevehouse 2006; Hyde 2011; Donno 2013). Much of the credible commitment research...
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