Abiding by the Vote: Between-Groups Conflict in International Collective Action

Christina J. Schneider, Branislav L. Slantchev

International Organization, Vol. 67, No. 4. (October, 2013), pp. 759-796.


We analyze institutional solutions to international cooperation when actors have heterogeneous preferences over the desirability of the action and split into supporters and opponents, all of whom can spend resources toward their preferred outcome. We study how actors can communicate their preferences through voting when they are not bound either by their own vote or the outcome of the collective vote. We identify two organizational types with endogenous coercive enforcement and find that neither is unambiguously preferable. Like the solutions to the traditional Prisoners’ Dilemma these forms require long shadows of the future to sustain. We then show that cooperation can be sustained through a non-coercive organization where actors delegate execution to an agent. Even though this institution is costlier, it does not require any expertise by the agent and is independent on the shadow of the future, and thus is implementable when the others are not.


international organization, endogenous enforcement, voting rules