T05P07 - International Administrative Governance: Studying the Policy Impact of International Public Administrations

Topic : Policy Formulation, Administration and Policymakers

Panel Chair : Jörn Ege - ege@uni-speyer.de

Panel Second Chair : Michael Bauer - michael.bauer@uni-speyer.de

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

International public administrations (IPAs), i.e., the secretariats of international (governmental) organizations (IOs) that constitute the international counterparts to national administrative bodies, wield independent influence on the development and implementation of public policies (Biermann and Siebenhüner, 2009). While scholars of Public Administration and Public Policy regularly investigate the impact of organizational structures and personnel of ministerial bureaucracies and executive agencies on policy-making (Aberbach et al., 1981; Maggetti and Verhoest, 2014), such research questions have only recently been posed at the level above the nation state (Barnett and Finnemore, 2004; Bauer et al., 2016; Stone and Ladi, 2015). Previous research has successfully identified different administrative, political and context-related factors that might enable bureaucratic influence to occur. However, integrative approaches that allows for the systematic empirical analysis of several explanatory factors under a common theoretical framework are rare (Eckhard and Ege, 2016). More specifically, the state of the art can be characterized by three deficiencies: 1) Research on IPA influence is often characterized by a focus on single instances of influence. Thus, the conditions under which international bureaucracies influence policy-making (and their relative importance in terms of explanatory power) are a matter of academic controversy. 2) Factors related to the bureaucratic fabric of IOs such as administrative fragmentation, specialization, and differentiation have thus far remained outside the focus of most empirical analyses, and efforts to link administrative patterns to IPA influence are largely missing. 3) It has also been critically observed that pertinent research is characterized by a bias toward positive (or successful) instances of IPA influence (Busch, 2014, p. 57). Cases where influence is absent are rarely included in the analysis. This makes it difficult to test the explanatory power of different potential causes of influence and take into account the possibility of asymmetric causality.

Against this background, the panel aims to contribute to the current debate by probing into what could be called an international administrative governance perspective on IOs in order to study the policy impact of IPAs more systematically (see Knill and Bauer, 2016). The proposed perspective is a heuristic scheme that puts administrative tools center stage and links them to IO policy-making. Similar to a conceptualization introduced by Hood that views nodality, authority, treasure, and organization as central government tools (Hood and Margetts, 2007), we suggest focusing on the administrative toolkit for policy-related action available to IPAs. Based on this (broadly understood) perspective, the panel aims to attract scholars from different social science disciplines that study the administrative toolkit in order to conceptualize, describe and explain the policy impact of IPAs. In view of the deficiencies outline above, we hope that taking specific IPAs as the analytical starting point and comparing its administrative resources, external relations, and networking activities will improve our understanding of international administrative governance and how it matters for policy-making above the state.

References

Aberbach, J. D., R. D. Putnam and B. A. Rockman (1981) Bureaucrats and Politicians in Western Democracies. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.

Barnett, M. and M. Finnemore (2004) Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press.

Bauer, M. W., C. Knill and S. Eckhard (eds) (2016) International Bureaucracy: Challenges and Lessons for Public Administration Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Biermann, F. and B. Siebenhüner (eds) (2009) Managers of Global Change: The Influence of International Environmental Bureaucracies. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press.

Busch, P.-O. (2014) ‘Independent Influence of International Public Administrations: Contours and Future Directions of an Emerging Research Strand‘ in S. Kim, S. Ashley, W. H. Lambright (eds), Public Administration in the Context of Global Governance. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 45–62.

Eckhard, S. and J. Ege (2016) ‘International bureaucracies and their influence on policy-making: A review of empirical evidence‘, Journal of European Public Policy, 23 (7), pp. 960–78.

Hood, C. and H. Margetts (2007) The Tools of Government in the Digital Age. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Knill, C. and M. W. Bauer (2016) ‘Policy-making by international public administrations - Concepts, causes and consequences: Introduction to the special issue: Governance by international public administrations? Tools of bureaucratic influence and effects on global public policies‘, Journal of European Public Policy, 23 (7), pp. 949–59.

Maggetti, M. and K. Verhoest (2014) ‘Unexplored Aspects of Bureaucratic Autonomy: A State of the Field and Ways Forward‘, International Review of Administrative Sciences, 80 (2), pp. 239–56.

Stone, D. and S. Ladi (2015) ‘Global Policy and Transnational Administration‘, Public Administration, 4, pp. 839–55.

Call for papers

International public administrations (IPAs), i.e., the secretariats of international (governmental) organizations (IOs) that constitute the international counterparts to national administrative bodies, wield independent influence on the development and implementation of public policies. Previous research has successfully identified different administrative, political and context-related factors that might enable bureaucratic influence to occur. However, an integrative approaches that allows for a comparative empirical analysis of several explanatory factors under a common theoretical framework are rare. Thus, we still lack systematic knowledge of how international administrative bodies affect policy-making processes of IOs and global governance more generally. Against this background, the panel aims to contribute to the current debate by probing into what could be called an international administrative governance perspective on IOs in order to study the policy impact of IPAs more systematically. The proposed perspective is a heuristic scheme that puts administrative tools such as (network) centrality, different forms of authority, financial means and organizational structures center stage and links them to public policy-making at the international or global level. Starting from the assumption that policy-making is a result of strategic interactions among multiple political, administrative and societal actors that vary substantially in terms of policy-making constraints and resources, the panel aims to combine two major questions:

 

 

The panel invites conceptual and empirical papers on the role of IPAs in the provision of (global) public policy that may come from a variety of disciplines such as Policy Analysis, Public Administration, International Relations and Comparative Politics. Preferential treatment is given to comparative papers that combine theoretical work with systematic empirical analyses.

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