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Neither force, nor persuasion: international anticorruption conventions and Slovakia

Open Panel

Abstract

Abstract of Paper (up to 300 words): When studying instruments used by international institutions to promote diffusion of favoured policies, much attention has been paid to coercive instruments such as conditionality. Conditions can be linked to financial assistance or to membership in an institution. At the other end of the spectrum, non-coercive methods (e.g. peer review) have also received increased attention during the recent two decades as disenchantment with effectiveness of conditionality set in. In this paper, we study, using the case study of Slovakia, more complex, hybrid instruments used by some international institutions to promote policy diffusion. Specifically, we look at legal instruments of three international organizations active in the field of corruption control: the Council of Europe, OECD and the UN. These are conventions and protocols, which are legally binding on their signatories, but have no effective coercive enforcement mechanism. We explore why countries sign them and (to some extent) observe them. Methodologically, the paper uses analysis of media discourse, government documents and monitoring documents of the international organizations themselves. Our conclusion is that these instruments have been most effective when linked to the logic of consequences (March and Olsen 1998) – more specifically, the. OECD and EU membership conditionality. However, we also find that this is insufficient as an explanation since ratification and implementation have continued even after the accession, albeit in a less rigorous form. We also find that this is not due to the belief of the country’s elite in these norms (the so-called logic of appropriateness (ibid.)). Instead, we propose a third logic, which we call the logic of perception, where the desire to be seen as a good member of the international community can ensure policy diffusion if the domestic costs of such steps are not overly high.