Membership Conditionality and Institutional Reform: The Case of the OECD



Christina Davis, Princeton University

Date and Time

May 15, 2014 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM May 12.


CISAC Conference Room

The process of joining an IO may cause liberalization before membership. Thus studies that only evaluate compliance after membership underestimate the effects. Conditional membership may be one of the most important sources of leverage for IOs.  The rule-makers establish rules that don't go far beyond what they would otherwise do, but rule-takers often must accept a broad range of policy reforms they would not otherwise consider. The influence of accession conditions has been studied in the context of EU and NATO, where sizeable benefits and formal conditions motivate major concessions by applicants. This paper proposes to examine a much less powerful organization, the OECD. Here the qualifications for membership are ambiguous and leave open room for informal pressure for a range of economic reforms. The politics of joining organizations touch closely on concerns about status and legitimacy as well as functional demands for cooperation in complex issue areas. I will examine how OECD membership has motivated specific reforms in regulatory policies and trade in a comparison of the East European transition economies accession with that of Japan, Mexico, and Korea. Statistical analysis of patterns of when countries apply for membership will test for the role of economic and political conditions as well as the political relations among members.

Christina Davis is a professor at the Department of Politics and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University. Her teaching and research interests bridge international relations and comparative politics, with a focus on trade policy. Professor Davis' interests include the politics and foreign policy of Japan, East Asia, and the European Union and the study of international organizations. She is the author of Food Fights Over Free Trade: How International Institutions Promote Agricultural Trade Liberalization (Princeton University Press, 2003) and Why Adjudicate? Enforcing Trade Rules in the WTO (Princeton University Press, 2012).
This seminar is part of TEC's "Europe and the Global Economy" program seminar series.

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