Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Cited by 19
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2020
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

Scholars have long argued that transparency makes international rule violations more visible and improves outcomes. Secrets in Global Governance revises this claim to show how equipping international organizations (IOs) with secrecy can be a critical tool for eliciting sensitive information and increasing cooperation. States are often deterred from disclosing information about violations of international rules by concerns of revealing commercially sensitive economic information or the sources and methods used to collect intelligence. IOs equipped with effective confidentiality systems can analyze and act on sensitive information while preventing its wide release. Carnegie and Carson use statistical analyses of new data, elite interviews, and archival research to test this argument in domains across international relations, including nuclear proliferation, international trade, justice for war crimes, and foreign direct investment. Secrets in Global Governance brings a groundbreaking new perspective to the literature of international relations.


Winner, 2021 International Collaboration Section Best Book Award, American Political Science Association


'It is frequently argued that disseminating information helps international organizations to promote cooperation. Carnegie and Carson, however, maintain that international organizations that reveal sensitive information actually inhibit cooperation. Analyzing war crimes, international trade, nuclear proliferation, and foreign investment, they demonstrate that international organizations can help to address this problem by establishing systems to protect the confidentiality of sensitive information. The result is a fine book that makes a key contribution to our understanding of international organizations and global governance.'

Edward Mansfield - University of Pennsylvania

'With a compelling theory backed by comprehensive evidence, this book overturns the conventional view of how international organizations function … From the WTO legal hearings on airplane subsidies to the defense of victims targeted in ethnic cleansing, rich case studies highlight when and how international organizations help states manage information. Statistical analysis reveals why this matters - for trade flows, justice, and understanding international cooperation.'

Christina L. Davis - Harvard University

'One of the most interesting and creative books written about international organizations in recent memory. It made me think about an old issue in a new way … A must read for anyone interested in political institutions and global governance.'

Matthew Fuhrmann - Texas A&M University

'A masterful new book … A great example of modern social science …'

Michael C. Horowitz - University of Pennsylvania

‘… this book provides a strong blueprint for how these organizations can stay relevant and strengthen the international rules-based order by adopting confidential ity systems to resolve disclosure dilemmas.’

Source: Ethics & International Affairs

‘… a fine contribution to the study of global governance and of secrecy in international relations. Moving the examination of secrecy issues beyond the nation-state level, the book offers considerable food for thought for further normative analysis of the shadow realms of international politics.’

Claudia Hillebrand Source: Perspectives on Politics

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.