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The Company You Keep: International Organizations and the Reputational Effects of Membership

  • Emilie M. Hafner-Burton (a1) and Christina J. Schneider (a2)

Extract

Our contribution to this symposium speaks to the origins of international organization (IO) reputation. The one explored by Daugirdas is agency slack: when people delegated power and authority within an organization—in her example, UN peacekeepers and their surrounding bureaucracy—abuse their privilege and stain the institution's character. We explore another that can spark similar reactions and consequences, but which emanates from the behavior of the principals themselves (rather than their agents): the member states. The company an IO keeps—how members behave—can bolster or stain the organization's reputation. That in turn can have consequences, especially for organizations seeking to provide a venue for members to make credible commitments.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

References

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1 Kristina Daugirdas, Reputation as a Disciplinarian of International Organizations, 113 AJIL 221 (2019).

2 Obsolescing bargains are likely when the investor sinks assets into the host country that are not easily removed, which gives incentives to the host government to change the terms of the agreement in its favor. In the extreme, this turns fixed assets into liabilities with great costs to the foreign investor. Raymond Vernon, Sovereignty At Bay: The Multinational Spread Of U.S. Enterprises (1971).

6 Hafner-Burton et al., supra note 4.

9 Emilie Hafner-Burton & Christina Schneider, A Dark Side of Cooperation: When International Organizations Spread Political Corruption, Int'l. Stud. Q. (forthcoming 2019).

12 Joseph Farrell & Matthew Rabin, Cheap Talk, 10 J. Econ. Persp. 103 (1996).

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