Do intergovernmental organizations have a socialization effect on member state preferences? Evidence from the UN General Debate

Nicola Chelotti, Niheer Dasandi, Slava Jankin

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Abstract

The question of whether intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) have a socialization effect on member state preferences is central to international relations. However, empirical studies have struggled to separate the socializing effects of IGOs on preferences from the coercion and incentives associated with IGOs that may lead to foreign policy alignment without altering preferences. This article addresses this issue. We adopt a novel approach to measuring state preferences by applying text analytic methods to country statements in the annual United Nations General Debate (UNGD). The absence of interstate coordination with UNGD statements makes them particularly well suited for testing socialization effects on state preferences. We focus on the European Union (EU), enabling us to incorporate the pre-accession period—when states have the strongest incentives for foreign policy alignment—into our analysis. The results of our analysis show that EU membership has a socialization effect that produces preference convergence, controlling for coercion and incentive effects.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbersqab069
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Volume66
Issue number1
Early online date10 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Intergovernmental Organizations
  • International Organisation
  • Socialisation
  • international relations
  • foreign policy
  • United Nations
  • European Union
  • text analysis

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