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Too Many Cooks: Multiple International Principals Can Spoil the Quality of Governance

M. Rodwan Abouharb (), David Cingranelli () and Mikhail Filippov ()
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M. Rodwan Abouharb: Department of Political Science, University College of London, London WC1H 9QU, UK
David Cingranelli: Department of Political Science, Binghamton University, SUNY, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, USA
Mikhail Filippov: Department of Political Science, Binghamton University, SUNY, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, USA

Social Sciences, 2019, vol. 8, issue 5, 1-22

Abstract: We contribute to the research stream emphasizing the competition between international organizations and citizens for influence over the domestic policy choices of national politicians. Drawing upon previous theoretical and empirical work on the common agency problem, we contend that the joint influence of a country’s memberships in multiple international governmental organizations (IGOs) generates consistent, unintended, disruptive effects, which reduces domestic accountability and can worsen the quality of a domestic government. Even if we assume that joining any particular IGO is beneficial for member states, the competing demands of multiple IGO memberships could undermine the quality of their governments. Our comparative, cross-national empirical findings support this theoretical expectation. Countries participating in a larger number of IGOs tend to have poorer scores on five widely used indicators of the quality of a domestic government. Future research should identify the types of policies and countries where the negative externalities of international cooperation on domestic accountability are greatest.

Keywords: multiple principals; international governmental organizations; domestic accountability; agency loss; quality of domestic government (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A B N P Y80 Z00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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