New Publications

Simmons BA. Border Rules. International Studies Review. Forthcoming. (2019). simmons_borderrules_isr_2019.pdf


International political borders have historically performed one overriding function: the delimitation of a state’s territorial jurisdiction, but today they are sites of intense security scrutiny and law enforcement. Traditionally, they were created to secure peace through the territorial independence of political units. Today borders face new pressures from heightened human mobility, economic interdependence (legal and illicit), and perceived challenges from a host of nonstate threats. Research has only begun to reveal what some of these changes mean for the governance of interstate borders. The problems surrounding international borders today go well beyond traditional delineation and delimitation. These problems call for active forms of governance to manage human mobility and interdependence. However, human rights norms sometimes rest uneasily alongside unilateral border governance. A research agenda that documents and explains new border developments, and critically assesses emerging rules and practices in light of international human rights, is an essential direction for international studies research.



Creamer C, Simmons BA. Do Self-reporting Regimes Matter? Evidence from the Convention against Torture. International Studies Quarterly. Forthcoming. (2019). creamersimmons_cat.isq_penultimate.pdf


International regulatory agreements depend largely on self-reporting for implementation, yet we know almost nothing about whether or how such mechanisms work. We theorize that self-reporting processes provide information for domestic constituencies, with the potential to create pressure for better compliance. Using original data on state reports submitted to the Committee Against Torture, we demonstrate the influence of this process on the pervasiveness of torture and inhumane treatment. We illustrate the power of self-reporting regimes to mobilize domestic politics through evidence of civil society participation in shadow reporting, media attention, and legislative activity around anti-torture law and practice. This is the first study to evaluate systematically the effects of self-reporting in the context of a treaty regime on human rights outcomes. Since many international agreements rely predominantly on self-reporting, the results have broad significance for compliance with international regulatory regimes globally.



Doshi R, Kelley JG, Simmons BA. The Power of Ranking: The Ease of Doing Business as a Form of Social Pressure. International Organization. Forthcoming. (2019). doshikelleysimmons_edb_penultimate.pdf


The proliferation of Global Performance Indicators (GPIs), especially those that rate and rank states against one another, shapes decisions of states, investors, bureaucrats, and voters. This power has not been lost on the World Bank, which has marshaled the Ease of Doing Business (EDB) index to amass surprising influence over global regulatory policies – a domain over which it has no explicit mandate and for which there is ideological contestation. This paper demonstrates how the World Bank’s EDB ranking system affects policy through bureaucratic, transnational, and domestic-political channels. We use observational and experimental data to show that states respond to being publicly ranked and make reforms strategically to improve their ranking. A survey experiment of professional investors demonstrates that the EDB ranking shapes investor perceptions of investment opportunities. Qualitative evidence from India’s interagency EDB effort show how these mechanisms shape domestic politics and policy in the world’s second-largest largest emerging economy.



Kelley JG, Simmons BA. Introduction: The Power of Global Performance Indicators. International Organization. Forthcoming. (2019). KelleySimmons_GPI.symIntro.IOpenultimate.pdf


In recent decades, IGOs, NGOs, private firms and even states have begun to regularly package and distribute information on the relative performance of states. From the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index to the Financial Action Task Force blacklist, Global Performance Indicators (GPIs) are increasingly deployed to influence governance globally. We argue that GPIs derive influence from their ability to frame issues, extend the authority of the creator, and — most importantly — to invoke recurrent comparison that stimulate governments' concerns for their own and their country's reputation. Their public and ongoing ratings and rankings of states are particularly adept at capturing attention not only at elite policy levels but also among other domestic and transnational actors. GPIs thus raise new questions for research on politics and governance globally. What are the social and political effects of this form of information on discourse, policies and behavior? What types of actors can effectively wield GPIs and on what types of issues? In this symposium introduction, we define GPIs, describe their rise, and theorize and discuss these questions in light of the findings of the symposium contributions.