Monday, April 12th
Taylor Dalton (USC), The Ties that (Un)bind: A Network Analysis of Treaty Exit
Abstract: Withdrawal from international institutions, like the recent withdrawals from the International Criminal Court (ICC), the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, or Brexit, have often been explained with ad hoc state- or institutional-level theories without much consideration of the broader connections between states. This paper moves beyond this approach to provide a theory that explains treaty exit by considering a state’s position in the international network of treaties on the whole and within higher-order treaty clusters. States that have higher and long-lasting centrality may value each relationship less because it has many other pathways to obtain benefits or information, leading to a higher probability of ending those relationships. The theory is tested using a dataset of a random sample of treaties to find that enduring centrality within a treaty cluster affects the probability of treaty exit, especially when that centrality begins to shift within the treaty cluster. These individual state decisions also appear to ripple through the network, affecting other seemingly unrelated treaty relationships. The theory and findings open a new approach to understanding how the network of treaty relationships jeopardize the survival of international institutions.