Winning Proposal to the Organski Scholar's Fund: 2008 Competition

Project Title: Achieving Breadth and Depth in International Multilateral Agreements: the Strategic Design of Membership Provisions

Faculty Sponsor: Barbara Koremenos

Graduate Student: Papia Debroy

Project Description

Achieving cooperation in a multilateral agreement of states with different distributional preferences, commitment mechanisms and domestic capacities to cooperate presents a puzzle to scholars of international organizations: how can divergent preferences converge such that deep cooperation is achieved? Literature in the field focuses on how states achieve such cooperation by trading off between the breadth of cooperation to achieve more depth. Yet, an empirical overview of multilateral organizations suggests that multilateral institutions can achieve both breadth and depth of cooperation. This empirical finding suggests that our understanding of the conditions under which multilateral institutions form and find success is yet incomplete. This poses the important question: under what conditions do actors create multilateral agreements and how do they design membership provisions so that actors in such organizations can achieve deep cooperation?