Why Heed? Explaining the Authority of Peer Reviews among States

Valentina Carraro, Thomas Conzelmann, Hortense Jongen & Martina Kühner  (Maastricht University)
International Studies Association, 58th Annual Convention, February 22nd – 25th, 2017

Abstract: The authority of international monitoring is increasingly discussed. Why would states heed advice or commands by international organizations or by other states? Our paper surveys and explains the authority of one specific type of monitoring procedures, namely peer reviews among states. We do so in three distinct ways: First, we focus on authority as a relational concept, denoting the extent to which review participants consider the mission, procedures, and outcomes of peer reviews as legitimate, and act in ways that are consistent with such authority beliefs. Second, we use a mixed-methods-approach, combining the results of a large scale online survey and qualitative sources (elite interviews, document analysis). Third, we provide a comparative empirical study of eight different peer reviewing schemes set up in different policy fields (fight against corruption, sustainable development, trade and economic policies, and human rights) and in different regional and global organizations (OECD, Council of Europe, UN, WTO). We show how beliefs and behavior differ across these eight peer reviews and discuss explanations for observed differences. Such explanations focus on the institutional design of the reviewing schemes, the respective policy field, and variables pertaining to the membership (size, heterogeneity) and the degree of legalization of the respective international organizations.