UN Security Council decision-making: testing the Bribery Hypothesis – an interview with Eugenio Diniz Costa 

The paper now published in Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional  (RBPI Vol. 57 – July/Dec– 2014) is entitled “UN Security Council decision-making: testing the Bribery Hypothesis” and analyse Liberal-Institutionalism and Structural Realism expectations about international organizations and how US-controlled international aid is granted, and particularly if it is related or not to political affinity and to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) non-permanent membership. Eugenio Pacelli Diniz Costa gave an interview about his research to Priscilla de Almeida Nogueira da Gama member of the Editorial Team of RBPI.

Por Priscilla de Almeida Nogueira da Gama

1) Why do you think is relevant to analyse the UN Security Council decision-making over a perspective of the Liberal Institutionalism and of the Structural Realism?

From a theoretical standpoint, the UN Security Council decision-making provides an excellent test for both theories, since each of them puts forth expectations of behavior, and of what influences behavior, that are in stark contrast with the other’s. From a more practical standpoint, understanding what accounts for the way decisions are taken in the UN Security Council helps one to calibrate one’s own expectations about costs, risks and benefits and therefore to adjust one’s efforts and policies accordingly.

2) Along the article it is shown how the presence as a non-permanent member in the UNSC may influence to getting US aid, especially during the Cold War. Why do you believe that the Cold War influence  greatly the US aid ?

Actually, what we’ve found is that, during the Cold War, if a country was a non-permanent member of the UNSC in very important years, the relative amount of US-controlled grant it got during or after membership would increase according not only with its financial needs, but also by its overall political affinity with the US, measured by voting behavior in the United Nations General Assembly. Conversely, after the Cold War, political affinity ceases to be relevant; it is also not relevant when membership is in years of comparatively low visibility of UNSC diplomatic activity. What our research suggests is that structure-driven political competition (not the Cold War per se) is a major factor of Great Powers’ behavior, even in major multilateral organizations.

3) In your conclusions you said that the bribery hypothesis seem valid in specific conditions and situations. Do you believe this may mischaracterize the study? 

Slightly, in a sense. First, we call it “the bribery hypothesis” because a major, pioneering study on the subject called the described relationship as “bribery”. But our findings differ significantly from those of that study, and that’s why, in the end, we call it “support-for-aid”. Second, as we made clear in the article, this was a sample test. Our findings would benefit a lot from extending the empirical analysis to all UNSC non-permanent members, all years, all UNGA votes.

Read the article: COSTA, Eugenio Pacelli Lazzarotti Diniz; BACCARINI, Mariana. UN Security Council decision-making: testing the bribery hypothesis. Rev. bras. polít. int.,  Brasília ,  v. 57, n. 2, Dec.  2014 .   Available from <http://www.scielo.br/article_plus.php?pid=S0034-73292014000200029&tlng=en&lng=en>. access on  21  Feb.  2015.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0034-7329201400303.


Department of International Relations at Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil (eudiniz@pucminas.br)

Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil (marianabaccarini@gmail.com)

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Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional & Meridiano 47

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