The Influence of International Organizations on Militarized Dispute Initiation and Duration


  •  We thank Kevin Clarke, Brian Lai, Tim Nordstrom, and Clayton Thyne for helpful comments. All authors contributed equally to the development of the article. Their names are listed in reverse alphabetical order. Data used in this article can be downloaded from


We argue that international organizations decrease the duration of international conflicts by mitigating commitment problems and encouraging combatants to cease hostilities more quickly. Empirical analyses of militarized interstate dispute duration (1950–2000) reveal that increasing shared international organization (IO) participation reduces the length of disputes, even after accounting for selection into international conflict. We also find that international organizations designed to mitigate commitment problems decrease dispute duration, while IOs capable of reducing information asymmetries do not influence dispute length.