ISA 2012: Presentation on Participation in IOs

Here is the abstract of the paper I am presenting tomorrow:

This paper addresses an understudied, but highly relevant research question: why do states participate in some international organizations more than others?  Playing an active role in all fields of global governance requires resources that only a few countries have.  Most countries have to pick and choose where they will expend their diplomatic energies.  While others have monitored state participation in individual international organizations (for instance, on the WTO: Michalapolous 1998; Blackhurst et al. 1999), such studies have primarily focused on understanding obstacles to participation rather than considering why states may choose to participate in some organizations rather than others. A number of factors could drive those choices, including: a state’s own financial resources, a rational estimation of a countries’ primary interests, trust in coalition partners to represent their interests, external financial support for participation, and institutional inertia provided by past participation. We measure participation at two levels: meeting attendance and meeting “voice” (the number of times states actively speak during meeting, analyzed by coding meeting minutes and reports). This is part of an on-going empirical study of state participation in global governance. For the purposes of this present paper, we focus primarily on three international organizations which overlap with a focus on food safety governance: the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the World Organization for Animal Health and the World Trade Organization. We also primarily focus on patterns of African state participation.

Special thanks to my research assistant, Ivan Stoitzev!