Sticky Like Honey or Sticky Like Glue: On the Stability of the Liberal International Order

Abstract: Why do institutions become sticky in that it is costly to operate outside of them? The existing literature offers numerous hypotheses -- focal points, domestic political spillover, bureaucratic restructuring -- but little empirical testing. This paper tests alternative mechanisms for institutional stickiness by leveraging plausibly exogenous within- and between-country variation in the degree to which different institutions are embedded in bureaucratic processes, bilateral relations and the domestic economy.