The Effects of Foreign Audiences in International Dispute Settlements
Leeds, Brett Ashley
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation addresses the question of why actors (i.e., states and non-state actors) use international organizations (IOs) to settle disputes when such institutions often do not have enforcement power of their own. I approach this question by looking at the influence of IO dispute settlement processes on the behavior of domestic and foreign audiences. In particular, I argue that actors use IOs in order to influence pro-compliance foreign audiences by providing two types of information: information about violations that have occurred and information about the willingness and ability of parties to comply with settlement obligations. Informed pro-compliance audiences can work as enforcers, which help facilitate a state’s compliance with an IO’s ruling. This dissertation is composed of three stand-alone essays. These essays empirically test the implications of my theoretical arguments on datasets of actors’ use of dispute settlement mechanisms in the areas of trade and foreign investment. This dissertation sheds new light on actors’ strategic use of IOs.