SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Does democratization make states join existing international organizations (IOs)? Previous research suggests that democratization increases a state’s propensity to join IOs capable of assisting in the distribution of public goods and establishing credibility for domestic reforms. We argue that this is not the case. Instead, recent democratization has a strong effect on a state’s propensity to form new IOs. Since democratizing states face different governance problems than established democracies, existing IOs may not be a good “fit.” Additionally, established democracies might hesitate to allow democratizing states membership in the most lucrative existing IOs, thereby making immediate accession to such IOs not “feasible.” Quantitative analysis shows that democratization has a strong and consistently positive effect on the probability of forming a new IO, but not on the probability of joining an existing IO. The findings suggest that international cooperation theorists should begin to analyze forming new and joining existing IOs as alternative strategies that states can use to achieve their policy goals.