Choose your language:

Regional international organizations

Regionalism and diffusion revisited :

from final design towards stages of decision-making
Publisher: 
British International Studies Association
City: 
Cambridge
Volume, number, page: 
42 : 4, pp.773-797
Abstract: 
An emerging research programme on diffusion across regional international organisations (RIOs) proposes that decisions taken in one RIO affect decision-making in other RIOs. This work has provided a welcome corrective to endogenously-focused accounts of RIOs. Nevertheless, by focusing on the final design of policies and institutional arrangements, it has been conceptually overly narrow. This has led to a truncated understanding of diffusion’s impact and to an unjustified view of convergence as its primary outcome. Drawing on public policy and sociological research, we offer a conceptual framework that seeks to remedy these weaknesses by disaggregating the decision-making process on the ‘receiving’ side. We suggest that policies and institutional arrangements in RIOs result from three decision-making stages: problematisation (identification of something as a political problem), framing (categorisation of the problem and possible solutions), and scripting (design of final solutions). Diffusion can affect any combination of these stages. Consequently, its effects are more varied and potentially extensive than is currently recognised, and convergence and persistent variation in scripting are both possible outcomes. We illustrate our framework by re-evaluating research on dispute settlement institutions in the EEC, NAFTA, and SADC. We conclude by discussing its theoretical implications and the conditions that likely promote diffusion.

Institutional pioneers in world politics :

regional institution building and the influence of the European Union
Publisher: 
SAGE
City: 
New York
Volume, number, page: 
23: 3, pp. 654-680
Abstract: 
What drives processes of institution building within regional international organizations? We challenge those established theories of regionalism, and of institutionalized cooperation more broadly, that treat different organizations as independent phenomena whose evolution is conditioned primarily by internal causal factors. Developing the basic premise of ‘diffusion theory’ — meaning that decision-making is interdependent across organizations — we argue that institutional pioneers, and specifically the European Union, shape regional institution-building processes in a number of discernible ways. We then hypothesize two pathways — active and passive — of European Union influence, and stipulate an endogenous capacity for institutional change as a key scope condition for their operation. Drawing on a new and original data set on the institutional design of 34 regional international organizations in the period from 1950 to 2010, the article finds that: (1) both the intensity of a regional international organization’s structured interaction with the European Union (active influence) and the European Union’s own level of delegation (passive influence) are associated with higher levels of delegation within other regional international organizations; (2) passive European Union influence exerts a larger overall substantive effect than active European Union influence does; and (3) these effects are strongest among those regional international organizations that are based on founding contracts containing open-ended commitments. These findings indicate that the creation and subsequent institutional evolution of the European Union has made a difference to the evolution of institutions in regional international organizations elsewhere, thereby suggesting that existing theories of regionalism are insufficiently able to account for processes of institution building in such contexts.
Subscribe to RSS - Regional international organizations