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International Organization Membership and Militarized Conflict: A Distributive Perspective

  • Erik Voeten - Georgetown University
Friday 11 November 2016
Stichthage, The Hague

About the lecture

What explains the correlation between membership in International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) and the occurrence of militarized disputes? Existing theories argue that IGOs provide information, solve commitment problems, and socialize states. Erik Voeten will offer an alternative take, which highlights the distributive implications of IGO memberships. The international environment is both competitive and interdependent. If some states create a social surplus through institutionalized cooperation, then this may redefine the competitive landscape and create disadvantages for other states. First, IGOs typically advance principles, norms, rules, and policies that fit the ideologies of some actors better than others. Effective IGOs both increase coordination among members and intensify gaps with excluded parties. Second, IGOs sometimes insulate members from coercive sanctions and enhance opportunities for collective actions against outsiders. Erik Voeten will examine two observable implications of this theory. Shared IGO memberships correlate with reduced conflict onset among pairs of states that include a major power but not among contiguous states or states involved in territorial disputes. Second, divergence in overall IGO membership portfolios correlates with conflict. An implication is that more IGOs do not necessarily mean more peace. IGO memberships affect the distribution of conflict.

Based on the paper by Erik Voeten.


About the speaker

Erik Voeten is the Peter F. Krogh Professor of Geopolitics and Justice in World Affairs at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Government Department. He is the Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Chair of the Government Department. Professor Voeten’s research examines the role of international institutions and law in international affairs (Scholar Google profile). He teaches classes on international relations theory, international institutions, and statistical methods.

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About the seminars:

Diplomacy and Global Affairs (DGA) Research Seminar Series

The Diplomacy and Global Affairs (DGA) Research Seminar is a series launched by the Research Group on Diplomacy and Global Affairs at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs. The seminars of internationally acknowledged guest researchers and faculty members deal with current research topics in diplomacy, international relations, global affairs, and political economy broadly conceived and target a broad audience through their interdisciplinary focus.

For more information, please contact:

Prof. dr. M.O. Hosli (coordinator)

Dr. J.J. Kantorowicz

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