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IGOs and the Determinants of Member State Interest Convergence
Unformatted Document Text:  Introduction Much research in the field of international relations (IR) relates to the problem of cooperation between states, since there is no central government to enforce state compliance with international agreements. Many scholars propose that intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) help to mitigate this problem, enhancing cooperation between states . We are still working, however, to determine the specific causal mechanisms through which IGOs facilitate cooperation. More than two decades ago, Stephen Krasner broached the issue of whether international regimes have feedback effects on the basic causal variables that have led to their creation, which include not only the distribution of power but also state interests . While much work has been done on international regimes and, in particular, on intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) since that time , the debate over whether involvement in IGOs can alter state interests is still unresolved. In this paper, I ask not only whether interaction within IGOs leads to state interest convergence, but also which institutional attributes of IGOs are conducive to a convergence of state interests. I argue that, all else being equal, IGOs that facilitate greater interaction between member states will be more conducive to a convergence in their interests over time. This paper is part of a larger dissertation project in which I hypothesize that IGOs that have more sub-structures, higher issue coverage, and less members are more conducive to member state interest convergence. However, in the empirical section of this paper, I test only one implication of the larger theory. The preliminary tests presented here provide support for the argument that joint membership in IGOs with a low number of member states leads to a convergence in state interests over time. 2

Authors: Bondanella, Stacy.
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Introduction
Much research in the field of international relations (IR) relates to the problem of
cooperation between states, since there is no central government to enforce state
compliance with international agreements. Many scholars propose that
intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) help to mitigate this problem, enhancing
cooperation between states . We are still working, however, to determine the specific
causal mechanisms through which IGOs facilitate cooperation. More than two decades
ago, Stephen Krasner broached the issue of whether international regimes have feedback
effects on the basic causal variables that have led to their creation, which include not only
the distribution of power but also state interests . While much work has been done on
international regimes and, in particular, on intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) since
that time , the debate over whether involvement in IGOs can alter state interests is still
unresolved. In this paper, I ask not only whether interaction within IGOs leads to state
interest convergence, but also which institutional attributes of IGOs are conducive to a
convergence of state interests.
I argue that, all else being equal, IGOs that facilitate greater interaction between
member states will be more conducive to a convergence in their interests over time. This
paper is part of a larger dissertation project in which I hypothesize that IGOs that have
more sub-structures, higher issue coverage, and less members are more conducive to
member state interest convergence. However, in the empirical section of this paper, I test
only one implication of the larger theory. The preliminary tests presented here provide
support for the argument that joint membership in IGOs with a low number of member
states leads to a convergence in state interests over time.
2


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