Friday, November 21, 2014

Mikulaschek: Minor Powers’ Influence in International Organizations

Christoph Mikulaschek (Princeton Univ.) has posted Minor powers’ influence in international organizations: Empirical evidence exploiting the natural experiment of African representation on the UN Security Council. Here's the abstract:
To what extent is the work of international organizations shaped by their most powerful members? Can minor powers influence the decisions taken by the institutions? This paper contributes to answering these questions by systematically testing the proposition that minor powers have an impact on the substantive work of the United Nations Security Council. Recent studies on the Security Council find that its most powerful members provide aid and loans to other Council members in an effort to buy their votes. This literature leaves open the question whether minor powers trade away their entire influence in exchange for side payments or whether they also impact on the Council’s substantive work. This paper relies on a novel approach to investigate this question. It exploits exogenous variation in Africa’s participation in the work of the Security Council to estimate the influence of African states on the outcome of decision- making processes inside the Council. Using a design-based approach and permutation tests for causal inference, the study finds that African states have a substantial impact on the Council’s substantive response to civil wars in Africa between 1990 and 2013. During years when an African region is represented on the Security Council, the UN deploys 938 more blue helmets and allocates larger peacekeeping budgets to civil-war countries in the region than during years when no state in that region is a member of the Council, on average. The finding that minor powers exert significant influence on the decisions of one of the most important international institutions is consistent with the argument that great powers display strategic constraint by sharing influence on international organizations with weaker powers.