Making International Organizations More Democratic

IEW Working Paper No. 217

Review of Law and Economics, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 305-330, 2005

31 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2005

See all articles by Alois Stutzer

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel


World governance today is characterized by international organizations lacking democratic legitimacy and control by the citizens they claim to represent. They are also criticized for being inefficient. This leads to violent protests and to NGOs having great influence. To address these problems, we propose international governance based on the democratic idea of citizen participation: All citizens of the member countries of international organizations have the potential right to participate in the decision-making of international organizations via initiatives, referendums and recalls. In order to reduce transaction costs, a representative group of citizens is randomly selected who can actually exercise their participation rights.

Keywords: international organizations, initiative, random selection, recall, referendum

JEL Classification: D72, O19

Suggested Citation

Stutzer, Alois and Frey, Bruno S., Making International Organizations More Democratic. IEW Working Paper No. 217; Review of Law and Economics, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 305-330, 2005. Available at SSRN:

Alois Stutzer (Contact Author)

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
4002 Basel
0041 61 267 3361 (Phone)
0041 61 267 3340 (Fax)


IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

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