Papers available upon request
“Organization Without Delegation: Informal Intergovernmental Organizations (IIGOs) and the Spectrum of Intergovernmental Arrangements,” (with Duncan Snidal). 2013. Review of International Organizations, Vol. 8 (2).
This paper contrasts with the growing IO literature on formal IGOs by theorizing why states might sometimes work through informal IGOs—institutions that are subject to no formal treaty and/or have no permanent secretariat. We undertake a theoretical exploration to show how a state’s choice along the spectrum of intergovernmental arrangements is related to the distribution of power. An empirical investigation of an original dataset includes important IIGO examples such as the G-groups.
Also published in The Law and Politics of International Organizations International Law series, 2015. Kenneth W. Abbott and Jack E. Brown (ed.), Edward Elgar: Northampton.
“Consultative and Observer Status of NGOs in Intergovernmental Organizations,” Bob Reinalda (ed.) Handbook of International Organization 2013, Routledge: London.
This chapter provides a state-of-the-art overview of NGO consultative status in IGOs. It provides evidence of the growing trend, reviews existing theoretical explanations, and then provides an original unifying argument that helps explain variation both between units and across time.
“Does the G-8’s suspension of Russia actually matter?” The Washington Post: Monkey Cage blog.
I argue that while Russia’s suspension from the G-8 is in many ways “sui generis”, patterns from history show that IGO suspension can be a powerful tool of international diplomacy because being shunned marks a state as a pariah rather than a key part of a (valuable) international club.
“The BRICS and the Future of ‘Informal’ IGOs.” February 2014. The International Relations and Security Network blog.
I argue that states are increasingly seeing the value of informal IGOs vs. because they provide diplomatic flexibility, rapid crisis response, and an unquestioning respect for national interests.
Informal Organizations in IPE. Oxford Handbook of International Political Economy (Oxford Handbook of International Relations series), Jon Pevehouse and Leonard Seabrooke (ed.)
Sovereign states are increasingly interacting through “non-traditional” international organizations. This chapter pushes beyond their mere existence to look at the actors inside these entities and the outputs they create. It addresses how international political economy is negotiated, formed, and maintained in non-traditional setups and analyzes how (and when) legitimacy is obtained in the field.
Transnational Administration in Informal International Organizations. Handbook on Global Policy and Transnational Administration (Oxford University Press). Kimberly Moloney and Diane Stone (ed.)
States are progressively administering a global order through interactions between domestic regulatory bodies, non-governmental agencies, and even executive appointees. This chapter analyzes what these different kinds of patrons bring to the bargaining table, how their varied backgrounds influence policy outcomes, and how internal actors interface with external stakeholders to strike bargains that stick.
“Suspensions from Intergovernmental Organizations”
Suspension from an IGO is an important threat to encourage states to comply and to punish violators. Despite this theoretical importance, we know very little about actual suspensions. This paper uses an original dataset to show that suspensions are rare and unevenly invoked because of the high costs on remaining members. Suspension is most likely when it does not impose large negative externalities.
“The Punishment Phase: IGO Suspensions After Political Backsliding” (with Inken von Borzyskowski)
While many IGOs espouse democratic commitments and vouch to suspend member states for political regressions, enforcement of these standards is uneven. We argue that suspensions involve significant collective action by other member states to come to fruition and thus IGOs are more likely to suspend violating states when its members are willing and able to mobilize for this common cause.
“Bypassing Domestic Political Constraints through IIGOs” (with Duncan Snidal)
The expanded role of domestic political actors in international issues creates new challenges—but also new opportunities—for states. We show that executives use Informal Intergovernmental Organizations (IIGOs) to bypass domestic veto points. IIGOs create focal points favoring the Executive, do not require ratification, and are hard for domestic actors to influence with budgetary and oversight controls.
Selected Working Papers
“Withdrawing from Intergovernmental Organizations: Understanding When and Why States Exit”
Since WWII, there have been over 225 member state withdrawals from international organizations but scholars have paid scant attention to these exits. This paper examines the conditions under which member states are more likely to withdraw. I show that institutional design, power politics (including motives of pariah states), and changing preferences predict when and why states withdraw from IOs.
“NGOs as State Allies: Granting Consultative Status at ECOSOC”
NGOs are increasingly playing a formal role in the operations of many IGOs. While many scholars have begun to note this general trend, we have very little understanding of the kinds of NGOs that get formal access. Using a novel identification strategy and a quantitative analysis of NGO accreditation in UN ECOSOC, I show that member states are shrewd and give access to NGOs that will act as “allies”.
“Who Lobbies: Analyzing the Drivers of Foreign Lobbying in the U.S.”
Foreign governments pay millions of dollars to hire U.S. lobbying firms to promote their interests. Who lobbies? Using an original dataset, we support an information-based argument. Enduring rivals increase lobbying efforts when their overseas rivals increase lobbying. Second, countries with weaker diplomatic connections lobby more to obtain information not provided via institutional relationships.
“Foreign and Ethnic Lobbies in American Foreign Policy: Information versus Elections in Tariff Policy.” (with Jon Pevehouse)
There exists almost no systematic evidence on the scope or influence of “foreign agents” on American foreign policy. This paper fills this theoretical and empirical void. We distinguish between the muddled concepts of ethnic and foreign lobbies. We then use an original dataset of sixty years of FARA contributions to show that more lobbying by international actors lowers US trade barriers.
“The Informational Role of Foreign Lobbying in U.S. Foreign Aid: Is U.S. Assistance for Sale?” (with Jon Pevehouse)
Myriad anecdotal examples show that foreign lobbyists have successfully negotiated better U.S. foreign aid deals, even after scathing domestic events such as coups or human rights abuses. We leverage an original dataset of FARA contributions to systematically show that recipient countries can indeed influence the level and terms of their foreign assistance by lobbying from abroad.
“Foreign Lobbying and Human Rights Ratings.” (with Jon Pevehouse)
We examine whether foreign governments influence the final language of U.S. human rights reports through lobbying efforts in order to tilt ratings in their favor. By comparing annual U.S. State Department reports to Amnesty International reports from 1976-2006, we show that more lobbying leads to more favorable U.S. reporting on human rights.
“Rising Powers and Forum Shopping: the Use of Informal IGOs as Alternatives to Formal Institutional Constraints.” (with Duncan Snidal)
Informal Intergovernmental Organizations (IIGOs) are increasingly used as tools of global governance by both strong and weak states. In particular, weak-but-rising-power states are utilizing IIGOs to work around institutional constraints that favour existing great powers. This paper explores how weak-but-rising-power states leverage IIGOs in the areas of international trade and global climate change.
Copyright 2015 Felicity Vabulas.