Explaining Patterns in IO Openness: Governance Problems, Policy Approaches, and Institutional Design
Politischen Vierteljahresschrift, Special Issue 49 (2014), “Internationale Organisationen: Autonomie, Politisierung, interorganisationale Beziehungen und Wandel", Forthcoming
36 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2014
Date Written: April 8, 2014
International organizations (IOs) have undergone a profound institutional transformation over past decades, dramatically expanding the opportunities for transnational actors (TNAs) to participate in global policy-making. At the same time, significant differences remain, as TNA involvement continues to vary in distinct and durable ways. In this article, we argue that a neglected source of patterns in openness is the policy approaches of IOs, understood as organizational styles of problem-solving. Policy approaches matter because the one and the same governance problem may be tackled in multiple ways. Policy approaches thus function as an intervening variable, shaping the effect of underlying governance problems on the demand for particular design solutions. Introducing a distinction between centralized and decentralized policy approaches, we argue that IOs which pursue a centralized approach to problem solving are less likely to involve TNAs, whereas IOs that pursue a decentralized approach are more likely to seek the involvement of TNAs in policy formulation, implementation, and enforcement. Empirically, the article combines descriptive statistics on variation in TNA access across and within issue areas, and two case studies that show the varying impact of policy approaches on TNA access in two specific IOs – the Asian Development Bank and the Commonwealth.
Keywords: international organizations, transnational actors, openness, policy approach, governance problem, institutional design
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