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Multilateral organizations and domestic democratic governance

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International organizations are ubiquitous in the international system and often intervene in domestic political affairs. Interventions can occur because states do not have adequate infrastructure to govern, because a political

International organizations are ubiquitous in the international system and often intervene in domestic political affairs. Interventions can occur because states do not have adequate infrastructure to govern, because a political regime seeks international legitimation of its rule, or because an intervention may prevent political crisis. Whatever the reason, there are consequences of such interventions for domestic society. This project asks how interventions sanctioned by international organizations affect individual political involvement, specifically attitudes toward democracy and democratic institutions. I theorize and empirically demonstrate that when an international intervention reinforces existing democratic institutions in a state, individual levels of confidence in democracy and levels of trust in democratic institutions improve. By contrast, when an intervention undermines existing democratic institutions, levels of confidence in democracy and trust in democratic institutions decrease. This research is important because it shows that the determinants of individual political engagement are not only domestic, but also affected by international-level phenomena. This means that international organizations and the interventions they regularly employ in states can meaningfully affect the prospects for democratic consolidation.

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  • 2015