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National Entanglements in International Governmental Organizations

Harold K. Jacobson, William M. Reisinger and Todd Mathers
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 80, No. 1 (Mar., 1986), pp. 141-159
DOI: 10.2307/1957088
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1957088
Page Count: 19
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National Entanglements in International Governmental Organizations
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Abstract

There has been a growing propensity among states to associate together in international governmental organizations, or IGOs, for a variety of purposes. Why do states join IGOs, and what are the consequences for states of membership in IGOs? In this analysis, an explanation is sought, drawing on the theory of functionalism espoused by David Mitrany and others, taking into account the number of years a state has had sovereignty, level of technology, extent of party competition, and overall power. For Third World states, membership in IGOs is associated with enhanced economic performance. An increasing number of IGOs in the system appears to lessen the states' mean proneness to war. Functionalist predictions are upheld. But functionalism needs to be supplemented both for comprehensive explanations and as a prescription for the future. Already there are so many IGOs that it is difficult for states to control them, which could make them progressively irrelevant or even jeopardize their existence.

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