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International Actors on the Domestic Scene: Membership Conditionality and Socialization by International Institutions

  • Judith Kelley (a1)

Abstract

International relations scholars increasingly debate when and how international institutions influence domestic policy. This examination of ethnic politics in four Baltic and East European countries during the 1990s shows how European institutions shaped domestic policy, and why these institutions sometimes failed. Comparing traditional rational choice mechanisms such as membership conditionality with more socialization-based efforts, I argue that conditionality motivated most behavior changes, but that socialization-based efforts often guided them. Furthermore, using new case studies, statistics, and counterfactual analysis, I find that domestic opposition posed far greater obstacles to socialization-based methods than it did to conditionality: when used alone, socialization-based methods rarely changed behavior; when they did, the domestic opposition was usually low and the effect was only moderate. In contrast, incentive-based methods such as membership conditionality were crucial in changing policy: As domestic opposition grew, membership conditionality was not only increasingly necessary to change behavior, but it was also surprisingly effective.Many panel and seminar participants have offered useful comments on this work, but my thanks goes in particular to Michael Zürn, Alexandra Gheciu, Frank Schimmelfennig, Jeff Checkel, Robert Keohane, Steven Wilkinson, Robert Putnam, Milada Vachudova, and the editors and anonymous reviewers of International Organization. I also thank Princeton University Press for allowing me to use material from my book Ethnic Politics in Europe: The Power of Norms and Incentives. The usual caveats apply. This research was funded by a grant from the Danish Research Academy (former Forskerakademiet), and by travel support from the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard.

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