Legal Features of Intergovernmental Organizations – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Legal Features of Intergovernmental Organizations

Seth Flynn


Pronouns: he/him/his

Research Mentor(s): Kristina Daugirdas, Professor of Law
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Law School,
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 2 (11am – 11:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 5
Presenter: 6

Event Link


International diplomacy and cooperation have never been a hallmark of authoritarian governments, yet these states routinely participate in the establishment and continued operation of Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs). However, the extent to which IGOs systematically differ based on the authoritarian or democratic character of their member states remains unexplored. This study utilizes previously compiled lists of IGOs to compile a massive excel dataset comparing the legal features of each organization. For each organization, the foundational documents are searched for before attributes are entered into the dataset. Specified features are marked as either present or absent and unusual characteristics are noted. As the dataset is developed, the variables across the IGOs will be compared, along with different rankings of their member states’ authoritarianism. The study currently continues to compile data from the different IGOs, however, some analysis has begun. Expectations from anecdotal evidence and previous qualitative research on IGOs leads us to anticipate that organizations with more authoritarian member states will enjoy significantly less autonomy than those with more democratic member states. From the findings, the study will analyze how these different IGOs work and help governments understand what features of these intergovernmental organizations are associated with authoritarian and democratic IGOs. This research will help legal scholars and government officials to better understand why states establish IGOs and evaluate whether IGOs actually have enough in common to be treated as a single category for purposes of analysis and the development of legal rules.

Authors: Kristina Daugirdas, Tom Ginsburg
Research Method: Library/Archival/Internet Research

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