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How Many and Why? Size Variation of National Delegations to Plenary Meetings of International Organizations


This article provides new insights into size variation of national delegations
to plenary meetings of international organizations. Plenaries are supreme
decision-making bodies representing a symbol of national sovereignty as all
member states of the given organization can participate in the negotiations
and collective decision-making. However, this article argues that the right to
participate in plenaries is utilized differently by different countries, which
may have political and normative implications for international
organizations and global governance as such. Drawing upon an actor-centred institutionalist approach and a newly created dataset covering
seventeen plenary meetings, I suggest there is considerable variation in the
delegation size caused by country-based factors. Namely, financial
capacities, ideational capacities and national interests motivate states to
delegate more representatives. In contrast, regional partnerships enable
countries to rely on their partners and delegate fewer representatives.
Finally, administrative capacities, the nature of the domestic political
regime, and the institutional design of international organizations have no
or only an inconclusive effect in this regard.


national delegations, delegation size, plenary meeting, international organizations, international negotitations

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Author Biography

Václav Vlček

Václav Vlček is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Political Studies, the
Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University. His areas of interest are
international organizations and the European Union. In his recent research,
he focuses on national delegations to plenary meetings of international
organizations and ministers’ participation in the Council of the EU meetings.