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About this book

Fully revised and updated, this popular and broad-ranging textbook provides a systematic introduction to the structure, policies and performance of international organizations. Despite being a relatively new phenomenon, international organizations are involved in innumerable issue areas. This core text analyses IOs at the regional and global levels to show how institutions such as the UN, OECD, AU, EU and many others contribute to contemporary global governance and the norms and rules which guide transnational responses to problems such as climate change, weapons of mass destruction and global terrorism.

This accessible and engaging text gives students an analytical insight into the causes and effects of international regimes and organizations. Structured in three parts, this text answers key enduring questions: why international organizations are created, how they shape collective decision making, their effects on global governance in key issue areas such as the environment and human rights. This core text is the ideal companion for students of International Relations taking International Organizations and Global Governance modules.

Table of Contents

Theory and History of International Organizations

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Theories of International Organizations

Abstract
In this chapter, we shall look at various theories of international organizations which reflect three dominant schools of thought in International Relations: the realist, the institutionalist and the constructivist schools (among others, see Hasenclever et al. 1997). These schools of thought differ on two counts. First, they make different assumptions about structures and actors in international relations; secondly, they vary in their statements on the causes, design and effects of international organizations. See Table 2.1.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck

Chapter 3. History of International Organizations

Abstract
History and theory are intertwined; we shall use a neo-institutionalist approach to give context and meaning to the history of international organizations. International organizations emerge when complex interdependencies prod states into international cooperation to further common interests (the ‘problem condition’). But this explanation is not sufficient; it needs to be complemented with a cognitive one derived from constructivist theory, and a structural power explanation derived from realist theory. The emergence of international organizations depends not only on the mere existence of complex interdependencies themselves, but also on the realization that these interdependencies lead to problems which can only be overcome through cooperation within international organizations (the ‘cognitive condition’). Whereas realists argue that international organizations only emerge out of complex interdependencies when a hegemonic state is willing to bear the costs of their creation (the ‘hegemonic condition’), we propose that international organizations are most likely to be created when each of the three conditions deriving from the institutionalist, the constructivist and the realist tradition — that is, the problem, the cognitive and the hegemonic conditions — are met at the same time. We shall show that these three conditions largely explain the establishment of international organizations in six of the most prominent issue areas of world politics:
1.
war and power politics;
 
2.
industrial expansion;
 
3.
world economic crises;
 
4.
human rights violations;
 
5.
developmental disparities;
 
6.
environmental degradation.
 
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck

Policy-making in International Organizations

Frontmatter

Chapter 4. International Organizations as Political Systems

Abstract
How do the constitutional and institutional structures of international organizations affect policy-making? Just as in football the size of the pitch and the goal, as well as the rules of the game, affect the players’ tactics, so the composition and competencies of international organizations have a significant influence on policy-making. This is what we mean by the polity dimension. We shall tackle the constitutional structure of international organizations first and then deal with their institutional structure.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck

Chapter 5. Actors’ Demands and Support: the Input Dimension

Abstract
What you ask for and what you get are two different things. And what you can put into the pot has a bearing on it, too. These truisms also apply to the policy-making process in international organizations. In international organizations the policy-making process is channelled through the constitutional and institutional structures of their political system — their polity. Its impetus and contents are derived from the values, interests and resources of the actors involved. Just as in football the rules of the game and the size of the pitch circumscribe a match, but do not determine its course and outcome, so the polity of international organizations provides an institutional framework which opens up and limits the options of actors in international politics and consequently defines possible moves and excludes others. However, it does not determine political actors’ behaviour. Politics remains the domain of actors, just as the teams’ moves cannot be reduced to the rules of the game in a football match.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck

Chapter 6. Decision-making in International Organizations: the Conversion Process

Abstract
What goes in is one thing, what comes out is another. Between the inputs to international organizations and the outputs they produce lies a vital conversion process that may belie or fulfil actors’ expectations. In this chapter, we take a systematic look at how inputs are transformed into outputs in international organizations. For this purpose, we distinguish five models of decision-making in international organizations, none of which can account adequately for all types of decision-making. Different models of decision-making apply to different types of decisions: how these decisions are typically reached is shaped by the kinds of decisions that are taken. We first introduce the five models of decision-making and then show how they are systematically linked to different types of decisions.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck

Chapter 7. What International Organizations Produce: the Output Dimension

Abstract
In the preceding chapters, we focused on the polities and politics of international organizations, outlining in general terms the structures, actors and processes that shape decision-making in international organizations. But arguably, what matters most in the end is what comes out of international organizations, that is, the policies international organizations produce. In this chapter we take a systematic look at what the main outputs of international organizations are. We differentiate between policy programmes, operational activities and information activities which accompany both programme and operational decision-making as well as operational activities (see Figure 7.1). For an overview of the political system of international organizations, see Figure 7.2 at the end of this chapter.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck

Activities of International Organizations

Frontmatter

Chapter 8. Security

Abstract
In the realist view, the so-called security dilemma that results from the anarchic structure of the international system sets extremely restrictive conditions for meaningful and durable international cooperation and governance to ever take place, especially in the field of security (see Chapter 2). While we tend to disagree with realists’ all-too bleak conception of unregulated anarchy, suggesting rather to conceive of the contemporary international system’s ordering principle as ‘regulated anarchy’ (Rittberger & Zürn 1990) or ‘heterarchy’ (Rittberger et al. 2010: ch. 5; see Chapter 12), we acknowledge that the obstacles to international cooperation and global governance are particularly challenging in the security field.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck

Chapter 9. Welfare and Economic Relations

Abstract
In welfare and economic relations, as in security, there is a dilemma which sets the parameters for international cooperation and governance. The welfare dilemma arises in an international economy in which each state can, without the intervention of a central authority, decide on its own trade and monetary policies. Thus each state may try to increase its share of the economic pie by raising tariffs, imposing import restrictions, or devaluing its currency. If, however, all or most states seek to increase their share of the economic pie at the expense of other states (i.e. through ‘beggar thy neighbour’ policies), some may achieve a degree of short-term success; in the long term, however, the shares will stop growing while the overall pie will shrink. The welfare dilemma describes a social trap in which trade or monetary policies aimed at increasing welfare for individual states place both the community of states collectively and also each state individually in a worse situation than would have been the case with effective international cooperation and governance. Achieving such cooperation is further complicated by conflicts about the distribution of gains from cooperation as well as the ability of domestic interest groups to block international cooperation and governance.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck

Chapter 10. The Environment

Abstract
The policy field of environmental protection is no more free from a fundamental dilemma than are the policy fields of security or welfare and economic relations. This is because each state is ultimately interested in the environmental protection of its own territory at the lowest economic cost. Thus, in international politics each state is tempted to pass the economic costs of environmental protection on to other states while benefiting from their efforts in protecting the environment. If, however, all followed this strategy of free-riding, not a single state could benefit economically; yet, they would collectively undermine the environmental conditions for human life at a regional or even global level. Thus, the environmental dilemma describes a social trap in which behaviour aimed at gains for individual states places both the community of states collectively and also each state individually in a worse situation than would have been the case with effective international cooperation and governance.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck

Chapter 11. Human Rights

Abstract
Human rights pose a different dilemma from security, welfare and economic relations or the environment (Donnelly 2006). The human rights dilemma is not based on material interdependencies between states; human rights infringements in one state usually do not have any material effects on other states. The human rights dilemma derives ‘only’ from moral interdependencies across state borders: human rights violations in one, often authoritarian, state can give rise to moral outrage in other, usually democratic, states; giving rise to an active international human rights policy (Liese 2006a; Risse & Sikkink 1999: 22–4). The existence of such international moral interdependencies crucially depends on the activities of transnational networks of human rights organizations which construct local human rights violations as global problems which require governance beyond the nation-state (see Rittberger et al. 2010: 617–22). Even more than in other issue areas, global human rights problems are socially constructed rather than naturally given issues of international governance. Despite a growing global concern for human rights and an almost universal (at least rhetorical) acceptance of basic human rights, there remains for each individual state the temptation to keep the costs of its human rights policy as low as possible, or even to pass them on to others.
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck

Chapter 12. Between a World State and International Anarchy: Images of World Order

Abstract
In the previous chapters we have seen that international organizations, through their programme, operational and information activities, contribute to the cooperative management of transnational, cross-border problems. While our evaluations of international organizations’ effectiveness have also shown that international organizations are no panacea, international organizations are nonetheless key actors of global governance. The creation and implementation of international norms and rules, which claim to contribute to the solution of collective problems, regulate international relations and establish normative order(s) beyond the nation-state, depend on the existence and workings of international organizations (Kruck & Rittberger 2010).
Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl, Andreas Kruck
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