Asymmetric Negotiations in International Institutions


This project examines the ability of small states to achieve favorable outcomes in negotiations in international institutions. The decision to participate in an international institution is voluntary, even for small states. Dominant theories suggest that powerful states join international organizations because they can control the design of these institutions and solidify their resources by doing so. If these institutions are not beneficial then these states cease to participate. However few theories question the wide participation of the "losers" of international organizational design—small states. Accordingly, I argue that under certain conditions small states are the primary beneficiaries of institutional design. One phase of this project looks in detail at the case of the International Criminal Court and I am expanding this analysis to investigate weak state strategies over time and in various issue areas including trade and territorial issues. This theory focuses on coalitional dynamics and issue-linkage across international organizations. Smaller states comprise the vast majority of organizational memberships and when these states pool their resources they can use linkage pressures to entice more powerful states to agree to terms they may not have otherwise.