How Elite Partisan Cues Affect International Organization Legitimacy

08 September 2020, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


While domestic political parties engage in growing contestation over international organizations (IOs), we know little about the effects of party cues on citizen perceptions of IO legitimacy. This paper is an effort to address this gap. We develop an argument for why citizens should be responsive to party cues when forming legitimacy beliefs toward IOs, and when those effects should be particularly strong. We conduct two vignette experiments in the US and Germany, focused on party cues regarding military spending on NATO and refugees accepted under the UN convention. We find that citizens draw on party cues when developing legitimacy beliefs toward IOs, but that these effects are conditioned by political context and individual characteristics. Party cue effects are stronger in the more polarized US political environment and for citizens with more positive attitudes toward international cooperation to start with.


international organizations
public opinion
party cues


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