Previous research generally ignores the costs of international cooperation. Using the principal-agent framework, we draw attention to the agency loss that occurs domestically when multiple international actors simultaneously influence national policy makers. We contribute to the literature by emphasizing the potentially negative consequences of competition between international organizations and citizens for influence over domestic politicians. Drawing upon previous theoretical and empirical work on the multiple principals-common-agent problem, we hypothesize that the joint influence of a country’s memberships in multiple international governmental organizations (IGOs) generates consistent, unintended, disruptive effects on governance. The empirical part of the paper applies our theoretical expectations to indicators of the quality of domestic governance. The results support our argument and show that the disruptive effect is strongest in less democratic countries.
Abouharb, Mohammed Rodwan; Cingranelli, David L.; and Filippov, Mikhail G., "International Organizations and the Quality of Domestic Governance: the Multiple Principals Problem" (2016). Working Papers Series. 1.