Why do states change positions in the United Nations General Assembly?

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Title: Why do states change positions in the United Nations General Assembly?
Authors: Brazys, Samuel
Panke, Diana
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/7325
Date: 17-Nov-2015
Online since: 2016-09-14T01:00:10Z
Abstract: Many international organizations deal with repeated items on their agendas. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is no exception as many of its resolutions reoccur over time. A novel dataset on UNGA voting on repeated resolutions reveals considerable, but variable, amounts of change on resolutions by states over time. To shed light on underlying causes for voting (in)consistency, this paper draws on IR literature on negotiations and foreign policy changes to develop hypotheses on the role of domestic and international constraints. Our findings suggest that states with limited financial capacity cannot develop their own, principled, voting positions on all norms on the negotiation agenda. Consequently, these states can be more flexible in adjusting their voting position for reoccurring IO norms and are more prone to change their positions over time. Moreover, states with constrained decision-makers change position less frequently due to pluralistic gridlock. Finally, while large and rich states make a small number of purposive vote shifts, poor and aid-recipient states engage in 'serial shifting' on the same resolutions, a finding suggestive of vote-buying. The prevalence of position changes suggests that the international norm environment may be more fragile and susceptible to a revisionist agenda than is commonly assumed.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Sage Publications
Journal: International Political Science Review
Copyright (published version): 2015 the Authors
Keywords: UNGAForeign policyInternational normsDiplomacyForeign aid
DOI: 10.1177/0192512115616540
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Politics and International Relations Research Collection
Geary Institute Research Collection

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