United Nations conventions for the supression of transnational terrorism and international security cooperation




Pascoe, Henry Baker

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Transnational terrorism transcends international boundaries, making interstate cooperation important for its prevention. However, high sovereignty costs and preference heterogeneity between targets of and havens for terrorism make counterterrorism cooperation difficult to achieve. In this dissertation, I investigate whether and how the United Nations conventions for the suppression of transnational terrorism, which have neither formal enforcement provisions nor delegated authority, are successful in fostering international counterterrorism cooperation.

Using a game-theoretic model, I argue that multilateral agreements operate via an informal, decentralized, enforcement mechanism -- foreign aid. Agreements improve the ability of donors of foreign aid to monitor counterterrorism efforts of aid recipients, which makes threats to withdraw aid more credible. I test implications of using data on treaty ratification, foreign aid, the survival of terrorist groups, and transnational attacks. I find empirical support for two key implications of the model. Ratification: 1) increases receipts of foreign aid, 2) makes aid more effective at reducing transnational attacks, and 3) makes aid a more effective tool for destabilizing terrorist groups.

This dissertation contributes to the study of informal enforcement mechanisms in international institutions and illustrates the importance of international institutions for facilitating cooperation for counterterrorism. In conclusion, I discuss the implications of this project for the literature on international institutions as vehicles of information transmission and the relationship between capacity building and enforcement in international institutions.



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