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Title: Regional Organizations as Democracy Enforcers: Designing Effective Toolkits
Authors: Emmons, Cassandra Victoria
Advisors: Davis, Christina L
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: democratic backsliding
European Union
international organizations
Organization of American States
regional organizations
Subjects: International relations
Political science
International law
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Democratic systems are under attack around the world. Democracy’s contemporary adversaries have devised highly legalistic tactics to consolidate power, dismantle checks and balances, and infringe upon hard-won civil rights. I contend that regional intergovernmental organizations (RIOs) are uniquely positioned to defend democratic values and governance in their member states. RIOs can deter democratic decay by designing and employing their individual democracy enforcement toolkit. This dissertation asks two related questions about the design and development of these toolkits. First, why do democracy enforcement toolkits vary across time and place? I argue collective experiences with democratic transitions and stability in a region shape treaty designers’ preferences and outcomes at specific points in time. When collective formidable experiences in a region include democratic erosion and instability, the designers will be more inclined to delegate democracy enforcement capabilities to the RIO. Alternatively, when the collective experiences in the region suggest unilateral transitions and democratic stability, fewer mechanisms are designed in the interest of sovereignty. Taking an historical institutionalist approach based on archival research in Europe and Washington, DC, I find evidence supporting this collective democratic experience hypothesis in comparative case studies of the Organization of American States and the European Union. Second, which toolkits are effective deterrents of democratic decay? I conjure five versions of the toolkit design hypothesis, which explore whether individual toolkits, individual mechanisms, or the compound effects of RIO toolkits in the democracy enforcement regime complex are better deterrents. These hypotheses are tested on the original Democracy Enforcement Toolkit Dataset, which traces the development of democracy enforcement mechanisms in twelve RIOs from 1948 to 2017. Through statistical analyses, I surmise incorporation of mediation, monitoring, and regional courts renders RIOs more effective as deterrents of democratic erosion. Given these findings, RIO and state leaders should incorporate these enforcement methods into their available regional toolkits before the liberal world order is vanquished.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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