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Analyzing international organizations: how the concepts we use affect the answers we get

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dc.contributor.author Roger, Charles B.
dc.contributor.author Rowan, Sam
dc.date.accessioned 2021-11-26T10:49:10Z
dc.date.issued 2022
dc.identifier.citation Roger CB, Rowan SS. Analyzing international organizations: how the concepts we use affect the answers we get. Review of International Organizations. 2022 Jul;17(3):597-625. DOI: 10.1007/s11558-021-09432-2
dc.identifier.issn 1559-7431
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10230/49072
dc.description Includes supplementary material for the online appendix
dc.description.abstract We explore how “international organizations” have been conceptualized and operationalized in the field of International Relations (IR), identify an important gap between the two, and demonstrate how this shapes our understanding of world politics. Traditionally, we show, IR has embraced a broad conception of international organizations (IOs) that appreciates variation in design. However, the literature has largely coalesced around a measurement standard that reflects the characteristics of major postwar IOs. Prevailing measures, therefore, mainly count formal IOs—bodies founded with legally binding agreements—and omit informal IOs, which are founded with non-binding instruments. We argue that this produces a disconnect between theory and empirical evidence used in the field, since scholars frequently make arguments about IOs in general but draw inferences from formal IOs only. After reviewing how this disconnect has emerged, we use an original dataset on state membership in 260 informal IOs to reanalyze a number of important studies, showing heterogeneous effects for subtypes of IOs that conflict with existing theories to varying degrees. These differences imply that formal and informal IOs have different effects and that existing findings in the field are partly artifacts of the specific way IO variables have been operationalized by scholars. Based on this, we offer recommendations for how to improve research practices moving forward.
dc.description.sponsorship Charles Roger would also like to acknowledge the generous support for this project received from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Springer
dc.relation.ispartof Review of International Organizations. 2022 Jul;17(3):597-625
dc.rights © Springer The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11558-021-09432-2.
dc.title Analyzing international organizations: how the concepts we use affect the answers we get
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
dc.identifier.doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11558-021-09432-2
dc.subject.keyword International cooperation
dc.subject.keyword International organizations
dc.subject.keyword Institutional design
dc.subject.keyword Legalization
dc.subject.keyword Formality
dc.subject.keyword Informality
dc.subject.keyword Socialization
dc.subject.keyword Democratization
dc.subject.keyword Global environmental politics
dc.rights.accessRights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
dc.type.version info:eu-repo/semantics/acceptedVersion

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