My research focuses on the politics of multilateral cooperation, particularly in the governance of weapons. I am especially interested in how power is exercised and contested in international institutions, the implications of framing weapons in different ways, and the role of small states in world politics. I explore these dynamics in my dissertation and in other projects.
In my dissertation, I examine why and how states pursue multilateral agreements to govern different weapons, and how these motivations affect the outcome of agreements. I use descriptive statistics and quantitative text analysis to assess patterns in the content of multilateral weapons governance agreements. I then compare three case studies of multilateral weapons governance agreements: the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In doing so, I explore the differences between initiatives led by great powers and initiatives led by small states, and both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons governance agreements. This research draws on elite interviews conducted in Geneva, Switzerland, archival sources, and an original dataset of multilateral weapons governance agreements.
My job market paper “Weapons Governance by the Weak” examines why and how small and medium states pursue multilateral agreements to govern weapons and demonstrates it through the case of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It proposes that, beyond the technical content of the agreement, small and medium states pursue these agreements to reduce their vulnerability to great powers and to exercise greater agency and influence in world politics. In doing so, it highlights the importance of treating multilateralism and global governance as processes of contestation in world politics, rather than solely as processes of cooperation and absolute gains. This paper draws on over 40 elite interviews with diplomats, international bureaucrats, and members of civil society.
Egel, Naomi and R. Lincoln Hines. “Chinese Views on Nuclear Weapons.” Research & Politics.
Egel, Naomi and Nina Obermeier. “A Friend Like Me: the Effects of Shared IO Membership” (Revise and resubmit).
Egel, Naomi and Steven Ward. “Revisionism From Below.”
My research has been supported by the Swiss Confederation, the US Fulbright Student Program, the Social Science Research Council, the Judith Reppy Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Cornell University, and the Cornell Institute for European Studies.