Title: The Effects of Foreign Audiences in International Dispute Settlements

Abstract: My dissertation addresses the question of why 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 international 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.

My dissertation is composed of three stand-alone essays. These essays empirically test the implications of my theoretical argument on datasets of actors’ use of dispute settlement mechanisms in the areas of trade and foreign investment. My dissertation sheds new light on actors’ strategic use of IOs.

Dissertation Committee: Brett Ashley Leeds (Chair), T. Clifton Morgan, Songying Fang, Richard Boylan (Economics)