Towards a More Nuanced Understanding of How International Pooling of Authority May Affect the Perceived Legitimacy of Global Governance

77 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2017

See all articles by Brilé Anderson

Brilé Anderson

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich

Aya Kachi

University of Basel

Date Written: October 23, 2017

Abstract

Recent instances of political backlash against global governance efforts as well as conventional wisdom suggest that there is a link between shifting authority from the domestic to the global level, on the one hand, and the legitimacy of global governance institutions as perceived by citizens and other stakeholders on the other. We thus investigate whether and how increasing the authority of a global governance institution affects citizens’ legitimacy perceptions, using a population-based survey experiment in Germany and the United States (N=1600 each). The empirical focus is on climate change, a costly and paradigmatic global governance effort. The results show that certain shifts of political authority, such as changes to majority decision making at the international level and automatic implementation of international decisions domestically, do not significantly affect “average” citizens’ legitimacy perceptions of global governance institutions. This result is not due to citizens’ incapacity to understand the implications of increasing authority, namely, that increasing authority results in a loss of control over climate policy in Germany and the United States. Rather, legitimacy perceptions appear to be shaped by citizens’ perceptions of procedural and performance quality of such efforts as well as by their level of cognitive mobilization, namely their interest in international politics. In brief, we find that citizens relate perceived procedural and performance quality of global governance with their evaluation of its legitimacy, but that subtle shifts of authority from the domestic to the global level do not per se affect citizens’ legitimacy perceptions.

Keywords: Experiment, Survey experiment, Public opinion, Legitimacy, International organization, Ordinal logistic regression

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Brilé and Bernauer, Thomas and Kachi, Aya, Towards a More Nuanced Understanding of How International Pooling of Authority May Affect the Perceived Legitimacy of Global Governance (October 23, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3057461 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3057461

Brilé Anderson (Contact Author)

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) ( email )

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
France

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich ( email )

Center for Comparative and International Studies
Building IFW, office 45.1, Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich 8092, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 6466 (Phone)
+41 44 632 1289 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ib.ethz.ch

Aya Kachi

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4052
Switzerland

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