Date of Award

Winter 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International Studies

Committee Director

Regina Karp

Committee Member

Kurt Taylor Gaubatz

Committee Member

Frederick Lubich


This dissertation studies the interaction between international institutions and nation states. More specifically, it examines how the membership conditionality of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) was adopted by candidate states. It uses the Czech and Slovak accessions to NATO and the EU to argue that, in order to understand the external phenomenon of conditionality, we need to study its effects within states. Critical to this process is national leadership. National leaders determine whether and how conditionality is implemented. Furthermore, this dissertation asserts that successful compliance with NATO and EU conditionality is decisively determined by the extent to which leaders perceive compliance with institutional norms and rules to be in their interest, as well as by the extent to which their normative stance is aligned with the norms contained within NATO and EU conditionality. Elites favorably disposed towards membership are a sine qua non for successful compliance with conditionality.

The case studies offer a detailed analysis of the dynamics of the accession process in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. What becomes apparent is the failure of either a purely rationalist or a purely constructivist explanation to capture the empirical phenomenon of compliance with conditionality. Neither approach can adequately accommodate the mix of material and ideational preferences that drives a state's response to conditionality. This dissertation therefore advocates the employment of a more comprehensive analytical approach that transcends the traditional dichotomy between the two schools of thought and takes both rational and normative motivations of state behavior into consideration in order to explain the complexity of state behavior.


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