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Voting Alignment in Multilateral Negotiations: Why Small States Change Their Voting Behavior

Funding: Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies 

Period of Funding: October 2013 - July 2014 

Project Leadership: Prof. Dr. Diana Panke 

Guest Researcher: Dr. Samuel Brazys 

Student Assistants: Stephanie Pollhammer, Anna Lena Mohrmann 



Today, there are around 200 sovereign states in the international system, which cooperate with each other in around 5,000 international organizations and regimes. Although states are formally equal at the international level due to their sovereignty, they differ in many aspects, especially with regard to their financial capacities (economic size). 


The research group wants to investigate the behavior of small states in multilateral negotiations. The calculations behind the voting behavior of small states are the focus of interest. Can larger states or developmental aid donors 'buy' the support of smaller development aid recipients and, if so, under what conditions does such a 'vote-for-aid' exchange work? What other calculations underlie the voting behavior or changes in the voting behavior of smaller states? 


In order to answer these questions, the research group is developing a 'push-pull' model of voting behavior, which will be empirically tested using quantitative and qualitative methods. The General Assembly of the United Nations is a suitable object of investigation, as it is the world's largest international organization and therefore small recipients of developmental aid sit at the negotiating table together with large donors of developmental aid.