Institutional Effects on State Behavior: Typology and Hypotheses

Date Published:

Jan 1, 1999


We develop a new typology for examination of the effects of international institutions on member states’ behavior. Some institutions lead to convergence of members’ practices, while others result, often for unintended reasons, in divergence. We hypothesize that the observed effect of institutions depends on the level of externalities to state behavior; the design of the institution; and variation in the organization and access of private interests that share the goals of the institution. We illustrate these propositions with examples drawn from international institutions for development assistance; protection of the ozone layer; and completion of the European Union’s internal market. We find that significant externalities and appropriately–designed institutions lead to convergence of state behavior, while divergence can result from the absence of these conditions and the presence of heterogeneity in domestic politics.


Martin, Lisa L. "Institutional Effects on State Behavior: Typology and Hypotheses." Working Paper 99–05, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 1999.