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Title: The Power of the Weak: How Informal Power-Sharing Shapes the Work of the United Nations Security Council
Authors: Mikulaschek, Christoph
Advisors: Davis, Christina L.
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Informal governance
International organizations
International political economy
Political economy
United Nations
United Nations Security Council
Subjects: International relations
Political science
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: To what extent is the work of international organizations shaped by their most powerful members? Can minor powers influence the decisions taken by these organizations? This dissertation presents the argument that great powers engage in power-sharing in order to attain unanimity inside international organizations, which enhances compliance and increases the effect of the signals these organizations convey to the public. The pursuit of unanimity lends weight even to votes that are not needed for the adoption of a proposal under the formal rules. It enables minor powers to exert more influence inside international organizations than they could if the formal rules and/or the balance of material power between member states determined the outcome of decision-making in international organizations. An analysis of the UN Security Council tests this argument. The dissertation identifies a series of informal power-sharing practices in the Security Council, which systematically depart from the organization's formal rules, and which promote consensus and augment minor powers' influence far beyond what one would expect on the basis of the material capabilities and voting power of these states. In turn, these informal power-sharing practices are motivated by great powers' desire to attain unanimous support for the policies enacted in the Security Council, irrespective of the body's formal voting rules. Survey experiments demonstrate the rationale behind great powers' pursuit of unanimity. They show that a policy's endorsement by a united Security Council has a much larger signaling effect on public opinion than the policy's approval by a divided Council. Qualitative case studies and novel design-based causal inference that exploits natural experiments show that minor powers strongly influence the deployment of UN peace operations and UN counter-terrorism sanctions, and that minor powers also use their influence in the Council to attain side-payments. Minor powers' influence is particularly strong during crises, when great powers are most eager to secure small states' votes through power-sharing. Interviews with diplomats in seven countries and quantitative analyses of exogenous variation in minor powers' representation on the Security Council under pre-determined rotation rules trace minor powers' influence to informal power-sharing practices in the Council.
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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