Rules of Recognition: Explaining Diplomatic Representation in the Long Nineteenth Century

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paper


The aim of this paper is to explore the establishment of diplomatic representation as a measure of de facto recognition by other state units, and to explain its causes in the “long 19th century” (1817-1914). The premise of the paper is that, at least before the advent of broad-ranging legitimizing international organizations such as the League of Nations or the UN in the 20th century, sending a diplomatic mission to another country can be interpreted as an act of “de facto recognition.” Drawing on an expanded and updated version of the COW diplomatic exchange data (Bayer 2006), the paper then explores the underlying drivers of dyadic such acts of recognition. When and why did some countries establish diplomatic links to some other countries but not others? Preliminary findings show that recognition of other states was in the 19th century based on at least one more general principle: that of recognizing other de facto states. Other than that, it can best be explained by regime affinity combined with strategic and self-interested behavior, where states recognize others based on prestige, signaling and economic national interest.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug

Publication series

NameSTANCE Working Paper Series

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science


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