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Why Comply? The Domestic Constituency Mechanism

  • Xinyuan Dai (a1)
Abstract

Why do countries comply with international agreements? While scholars have done rigorous work to address compliance and enforcement in an international game, less analytical attention has been paid to domestic mechanisms of compliance. However, because international agreements have domestic distributional consequences, there exist domestic sources of enforcement. In this article, I develop an analytical framework of domestic accountability, where I identify specific channels of influence through which domestic constituencies can influence national compliance. Using a game theoretic model, I show that a government's compliance decision reflects the electoral leverage and the informational status of domestic constituencies. This framework further provides a theoretical rationale for why and how international institutions may influence states' compliance through domestic mechanisms. The European acid rain regime offers an empirical illustration of the domestic constituency argument.I have benefited from the generous help of many colleagues and friends in the course of this research. I would particularly like to thank the editor-in-chief of IO, anonymous reviewers of this article, as well as William Bernhard, Paul Diehl, Daniel Drezner, James Fearon, Robert Keohane, Charles Lipson, Ronald Mitchell, Robert Pahre, Duncan Snidal, Detlef Sprinz, Milan Svolik, and Pieter van Houten. Nazlı Avdan provided valuable research assistance. MacArthur Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, and the Research Board at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign sponsored various phases of this research.

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International Organization
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