Advertisement

Public Choice

, Volume 176, Issue 1–2, pp 33–55 | Cite as

A two-dimensional analysis of seventy years of United Nations voting

  • Michael A. Bailey
  • Erik Voeten
Article

Abstract

International relations scholars frequently use roll-call votes on resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to measure similarity in the foreign policy ideologies of states. They then correlate those measures with consequential outcomes, such as development lending, trade, or military disputes. Dynamic ideal point models of UNGA voting thus far have been restricted to a single dimension. We examine the existence of a stable, important, and interpretable second dimension underlying contestation in the UN. From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, North–South conflict constitutes a stable second dimension, shaped heavily by the agenda-setting powers of the so-called Non-aligned Movement and the Group of 77. In the periods before and after, the second dimension neither is stable nor easily interpretable, though it is sometimes important. We suggest that in most applications, our original one-dimensional estimates have conceptual advantages with minimal losses in explanatory value. We illustrate that conclusion with an analysis that correlates ideal point changes with militarized interstate disputes. Yet, our findings also suggest that scholars interested in specific issues, such as the Middle East, human rights, or arms control, might benefit from more specifically tailored ideal point estimates.

Keywords

United Nations International relations International organizations Ideal point estimation 

Supplementary material

11127_2018_550_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 16 KB)

References

  1. Alesina, A., & Dollar, D. (2000). Who gives foreign aid to whom and why? Journal of Economic Growth, 5(1), 33–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bailey, M. A. (2007). Comparable preference estimates across time and institutions for the court, congress, and presidency. American Journal of Political Science, 51(3), 433–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailey, M. A., Strezhnev, A., & Voeten, E. (2017). Estimating dynamic state preferences from United Nations voting data. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 61(2), 430–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bailey, M. A., & Chang, K. (2001). Comparing presidents, senators, and justices: inter-institutional preference estimation. Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 17(2), 477–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ball, M. M. (1951). Bloc voting in the General Assembly. International Organization, 5(01), 3–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beck, N., & Katz, J. N. (2001). Throwing out the baby with the bath water: A comment on Green, Kim, and Yoon. International Organization, 55(2), 487–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bonica, A. (2014). The punctuated origins of senate polarization. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 39(1), 5–26.  https://doi.org/10.1111/lsq.12031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clinton, J. D., & Meirowitz, A. (2001). Agenda constrained legislator ideal points and the spatial voting model. Political Analysis, 9, 242–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clinton, J., Jackman, S., & Rivers, D. (2004). The statistical analysis of roll call data. American Political Science Review, 98(02), 355–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davis, C. L., & Wilf, M. (2017). Joining the club: Accession to the GATT/WTO. The Journal of Politics, 79(3), 000–000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diaconis, P., Goel, S., & Holmes, S. (2008). Horseshoes in multidimensional scaling and local kernel methods. The Annals of Applied Statistics, 2(3), 777–807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Doyle, M. W. (1983). Stalemate in the North–South debate: Strategies and the New International Economic Order. World Politics, 35(3), 426–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gartzke, E. (1998). Kant we all just get along? Opportunity, willingness, and the origins of the democratic peace. American Journal of Political Science, 42(1), 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gartzke, E. (2000). Preferences and the democratic peace. International Studies Quarterly, 44(2), 191–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gibler, D. M., & Sarkees, M. R. (2004). Measuring alliances: The correlates of war formal interstate alliance dataset, 1816–2000. Journal of Peace Research, 41(2), 211–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Girod, D. M., & Tobin, J. L. (2016). Take the money and run: The determinants of compliance with aid agreements. International Organization, 70(1), 209–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Green, D. P., Kim, S. Y., & Yoon, D. H. (2001). Dirty pool. International Organization, 55(2), 441–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Holloway, S. (1990). Forty years of united nations general assembly voting. Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique, 23(2), 279–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kim, S. Y., & Russett, B. (1996). The new politics of voting alignments in the United Nations general assembly. International Organization, 50(4), 629–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Koremenos, B. (2005). Contracting around international uncertainty. American Political Science Review, 99(4), 549–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Liao, S., & McDowell, D. (2016). No reservations: International order and demand for the renminbi as a reserve currency. International Studies Quarterly, 60(2), 272–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Malone, D. M., & Hagman, L. (2002). The North–South divide at the United Nations: Fading at last? Security Dialogue, 33(4), 399–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Martin, A. D., Quinn, K. M., & Park, J. H. (2011). MCMCpack: Markov Chain Monte Carlo in R. Journal of Statistical Software, 42(9), 22. http://www.jstatsoft.org/v42/i09/
  24. Mattes, M., Leeds, B. A., & Carroll, R. (2015). Leadership turnover and foreign policy change: Societal interests, domestic institutions, and voting in the United Nations. International Studies Quarterly, 59(2), 280–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Morphet, S. (2004). Multilateralism and the Non-aligned Movement: what is the Global South doing and where is it going? Global Governance, 10(4), 517–537.Google Scholar
  26. Neumayer, E. (2008). Distance, power and ideology: Diplomatic representation in a world of nation-states. Area, 40(2), 228–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Palmer, G., d’Orazio, V., Kenwick, M., & Lane, M. (2015). The MID4 dataset, 2002–2010: Procedures, coding rules and description. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 32(2), 222–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Poole, K. T. (1998). Recovering a basic space from a set of issue scales. American Journal of Political Science, 42(3), 954–993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Poole, K. T., & Rosenthal, H. (1985). A spatial model for legislative roll call analysis. American Journal of Political Science, 29(2), 357–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Poole, K. T., & Rosenthal, H. (1997). Congress: A political-economic history of roll call voting. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Reed, W., Clark, D. H., Nordstrom, T., & Hwang, W. (2008). War, power, and bargaining. Journal of Politics, 70(4), 1203–1216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rosenthal, H., & Voeten, E. (2004). Analyzing roll calls with perfect spatial voting: France 1946–1958. American Journal of Political Science, 48(3), 620–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Russett, B. M. (1966). Discovering voting groups in the United Nations. The American Political Science Review, 60, 327–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Signorino, C. S., & Ritter, J. M. (1999). Tau-b or Not Tau-b: Measuring the similarity of foreign policy positions. International Studies Quarterly, 43(1), 115–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Thacker, S. (1999). The high politics of IMF lending. World Politics, 52(1), 38–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Voeten, E. (2000). Clashes in the assembly. International Organization, 54(2), 185–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Voeten, E. (2004). Resisting the lonely superpower: Responses of states in the United Nations to US dominance. Journal of Politics, 66(3), 729–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ward, H., & Dorussen, H. (2016). Standing alongside your friends: Network centrality and providing troops to UN peacekeeping operations. Journal of Peace Research, 53(3), 392–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wolford, S. (2014). Power, preferences, and balancing: The durability of coalitions and the expansion of conflict. International Studies Quarterly, 58(1), 146–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityWashington, DCUSA

Personalised recommendations