Global Governance Centre
08 November 2019

Why National Bureaucrats Consider IO Advise?

In our last colloquium, Andrea Liese discussed whether IO's influence is based on expertise, congruence or pressure. 

It is commonly assumed that international bureaucracies influence domestic policies by providing policy advice, although we are in times of contested multilateralism and increasing forum-shopping. So, to which extent they are influential? Which factors most strongly affect this ability?

Andrea Liese, Professor at the University of Potsdam, explored these questions in the last Global Governance Colloquium Series that took place on Monday, 4th November 2019 with the participation, as a discussant, of Aurel Niederberger, postdoctoral researcher at the Global Governance Centre.

Her findings draw from a global survey carried out in 121 countries to measure prevalent ministerial practices and potential motives amongst "gatekeepers". The research tested the four main explanations for international bureaucracies’ influence as policy advisors: by their specialized knowledge and expertise, by offering policy advice that fits national preferences,  by relying on the wider IOs’ means to coerce or incentivize policy decisions, and by relying on intermediaries who, for instance, pressure international bureaucracies’ target actors to act on their advice.

Liese explained that the degree to which the policy advice of international bureaucracies is considered domestically varies across international bureaucracies, but especially across policy fields, thematic areas and ministry officials. Nevertheless, she pointed out that, in general, international bureaucracies’ expertise as perceived by ministry officials is most important, followed by the fit between the advice and domestic preferences. Further, other determinants for the consideration of policy advice, such as coercion or third-party pressure, are also partly dependent on expertise.

Discussions commented on regional mechanisms and questioned the homogeneity of International Organizations' authority and expertise.

The next event of the  Global Governance bi-weekly Colloquium Series will take place on Monday, 18th November 2019. Marieke Louis, Associate Professor of Political Science at Sciences Po Grenoble, will discuss "Global Employers and the (Con)Quest of Legitimacy. Comparting the International Organization of Employers and the International Chamber of Commerce".