Synopses & Reviews
Why do states delegate certain tasks and responsibilities to international organizations rather than acting unilaterally or cooperating directly? Furthermore, to what extent do states continue to control IOs once authority has been delegated? Examining a variety of different institutions including the World Trade Organization, the United Nations and the European Commission, this book explores the different methods that states employ to ensure their interests are being served, and identifies the problems involved with monitoring and managing IOs. The contributors suggest that it is not inherently more difficult to design effective delegation mechanisms at international level than at domestic level and, drawing on principal-agent theory, help explain the variations that exist in the extent to which states are willing to delegate to IOs. They argue that IOs are neither all evil nor all virtuous, but are better understood as bureaucracies that can be controlled to varying degrees by their political masters.
"Delegation and Agency in International Organization develops a sophisticated Principal-Agent approach to elucidate the sources, limits and consequences of IO autonomy. The volume is unified by thoughtful application of the theory to a range of important cases and also includes more critical perspectives questioning whether PA theory provides an adequate analysis. There is no better statement of how PA models help us understand the importance and operation of international institutions and organizations. It is essential reading for scholars and students who want to really understand international organizations."
Duncan Snidal, University of Chicago
"This volume represents a timely ans stimulating contribution to the newly invigorated study of international organizations...the quality of the contributions to the volume is high...In sum, Delegation and Agency in International Organizations represents a substantial and stimulating organization...the volume stands as a much needed effort to examine critically the utility of the approach as applied to the design and functioning of international organizations."
Thomas J. Doleys, Journal of Politics
Why do governments increasingly delegate sovereign authority to international organizations and what are the consequences of such choices? This volume employs a broad range of empirical techniques to answer these questions and argues that the issues involved in controlling international bureaucracies are very similar to those faced in domestic politics.
International organizations are important actors in international politics but are frequently criticised for being either over-powerful and unaccountable, or weak and ineffective. This book seeks to explain these seemingly contradictory views by examining the variations in international organizations' roles as agents of states and the nature of the delegation of authority. The contributors argue that the issues involved in controlling international bureaucracies are very similar to those faced in domestic politics and that remedies to the problems often lie in the hands of their political masters.
An examination of the delegation of authority from state governments to international organizations.
About the Author
Darren G. Hawkins is Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at Brigham Young University.David A. Lake is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.Daniel L. Nielson is Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at Brigham Young University.Michael J. Tierney is Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at The College of William & Mary.
Table of Contents
Part I. Introduction: 1. Delegation under anarchy: states, international organizations, and principal-agent theory Darren G. Hawkins, David A. Lake, Daniel L. Nielson and Michael J. Tierney; Part II. Variation in Principal Preferences, Structure, Decision Rules, and Private Benefits: 2. A problem of principals: common agency and social lending at the multilateral development banks Mona Lyne, Daniel L. Nielson and Michael J. Tierney; 3. US domestic politics and international monetary fund policy J. Lawrence Broz and Michael Brewster Hawes; 4. Why multilateralism? Foreign aid and domestic principal-agent problems Helen V. Milner; 5. Distribution, information, and delegation to international organizations: the case of IMF conditionality Lisa L. Martin; 6. Delegation and discretion in the European Union Mark A. Pollack; Part III. Variation in Agent Preferences, Legitimacy, Tasks, and Permeability: 7. How agents matter Darren G. Hawkins and Wade Jacoby; 8. Screening power: international organizations as informative agents Alexander Thompson; 9. Dutiful agents, rogue actors, or both? Staffing, voting rules, and slack in the WHO and WTO Andrew P. Cortell and Susan Peterson; 10. Delegating IMF conditionality: understanding variations in control and conformity Erica R. Gould; 11. Delegation to international courts and the limits of recontracting political power Karen J. Alter; Part IV. Directions for Future Research: 12. The logic of delegation to international organizations David A. Lake and Mathew McCubbins.