Delegation and Agency in International Organizations

Delegation and Agency in International Organizations

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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.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 426 pages
  • 152 x 224 x 26mm | 680.4g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 23 tables
  • 0521680468
  • 9780521680462
  • 861,400

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Author Information

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.

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Review quote

' ... provides a stimulating contribution to the analysis of international organization ...' Review of Industrial Organization '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, The University of Chicago

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