Inken Borzyskowski, Felicity Vabulas | 2023

When Do Withdrawal Threats Achieve Reform in International Organizations?

In: Global Perspectives Volume 4, Issue 1. pp 1-18.

International organizations often come under pressure when states desire their reform. Some states threaten to leave international organizations unless their reform demands are met. But how often is threatening to withdraw associated with states demanding institutional reform? And under what conditions do states’ withdrawal threats actually achieve institutional reform? We argue that withdrawal threats are more likely to result in institutional reform when they (1) are made by powerful states and (2) are limited reform demands rather than calls for broader reform. We examine whether threatening to exit institutions can be a catalyst for institutional reform using an original dataset of withdrawal threats from all international organizations and states since 1980 (N = 130). The analysis supports our argument that withdrawal threats are more likely to lead to reforms when their associated demands are made by powerful …

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