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Title:The politics of accession to international organizations
Author(s):Scalera, Jamie
Director of Research:Dai, Xinyuan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Dai, Xinyuan
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bernhard, William T.; Pahre, Robert D.; Allee, Todd L.
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):international organizations
international relations
World Trade Organization
European Union
Abstract:Why do some states have a seemingly easy path to joining international organizations while other states find the process nearly impossible? What implications do the variation in accession paths have for the domestic politics of the acceding state? Increasingly, scholars recognize that the process of accession to international organizations is critical to understanding how international organizations influence states, including whether or not membership has an influence on domestic or international politics. This project contributes to these discussions by focusing on the yet unanswered question of why there exists such extreme variation in the accession process from state to state and how that variation impacts domestic politics. I argue that variation in the terms of accession is explained by factors at both the domestic level of the acceding state and the level of the international organization. The quality of the domestic bureaucracy and the level of public support for accession are the factors that matter most from the applicant state. From the level of the international organization, the factor that matters most is whether there is an objecting state, a challenger, blocking the membership of the acceding state. I test these arguments using quantitative and case-study analysis using original data on accession to the World Trade Organization from 1950-2008 and on accession to the European Union from 1973-2004. My findings confirm that states with a highly professional bureaucracy and strong public support move more easily through the accession process, unless that state faces a challenger in the accession negotiations. My findings also confirm that states will make more meaningful domestic political changes when they face a challenger during accession negotiations. More broadly, my dissertation demonstrates a unique way that international organizations have leverage over states by forcing changes to the domestic political structure of a state. In this way, my research answers the question of whether international organizations “matter” by offering a perspective previously unexplored in academic research. My dissertation also shows how states can use the cover of accession to international organizations as a way to bring about and secure domestic political and economic reforms. Thus, policy-makers may wish to consider pursuing accession to international organizations as a means to bring about reforms that would otherwise be impossible to do given bureaucratic limitations or domestic opposition.
Issue Date:2012-09-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Jamie Scalera
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-09-18
Date Deposited:2012-08

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