The resistible rise of international authority

This working paper is based on the interventions on the conference “Europe at the Cross-Roads: Challenges of the EU for National Politics” held at Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa, in October 15, 2018, a partnership between Institute of Public Policy, MAPLE, and FLAD. Around four in five IOs have experienced change in their structure of authority—delegation, pooling, or both—in the years that we observe them. What can explain the stark differences in the extent to which IOs change over time? We theorize that an IO’s authority is responsive to two distinct pressures: a functional pressure arising from change in an IO’s policy portfolio, and a political pressure in which IO authority is swept up and contained in public debate. We test these, and alternative, arguments using original data on international authority in 76 international governmental organizations over the period 1950-2010.

Authors: Liesbet Hooghe, Tobias Lenz and Gary Marks