From indications to indicators: Measuring regional leadership in the UN context

Edith Drieskens*, Ruben Van Genderen, Yf Reykers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper explores the limits and opportunities of relying on voting data to measure regional leadership in the United Nations (UN) context. Choosing the European Union (EU)'s functioning at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) as case study, it shows that these opportunities are limited for various reasons, notably because of the functioning of both the former and the latter.

The paper falls into two parts. The first part sets the scene; the second part formulates suggestions for measuring regional leadership at both the state and regional level. Presenting the status quo, section one reviews the main empirical and methodological conclusions regarding the use of voting cohesion in the study of the EU at the UN. Section two calculates the voting cohesion of the EU Member States for ten subsequent sessions of the UNGA covering the years between September 2002 and 2012 (i.e. Sessions 57-66). Taking a closer look at possible operationalizations for regional leadership at both state and regional level, sections three and four point at the importance of incorporating voting cohesion into more complex measurement instruments. The conclusion summarises the main findings and explores the way forward. (C)2013 Society for Policy Modeling. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S151-S171
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Policy Modeling
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • UN
  • UNGA
  • EU
  • Regional leadership
  • Voting cohesion


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