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Explaining the Transnational Design of International Organisations

Theresa Squatrito
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Christer Jönsson
Lunds Universitet
Thomas Sommerer
Stockholm University
Theresa Squatrito
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Jonas Tallberg
Stockholm University

Abstract

Past decades have witnessed a shift in international cooperation toward growing involvement of transnational actors (TNAs), such as non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations, and philanthropic foundations. This paper offers a systematic theoretical and empirical account of the transnational design of international organizations (IOs), combining a statistical analysis of a new large-N dataset on TNA access with in-depth case studies of TNA access in specific IOs. The central results are three-fold. First, the empirical data confirm the existence of a far-reaching institutional transformation of IOs over the past sixty years, pervading all issue areas, policy functions, and world regions. Second, variation in TNA access within and across IOs is mainly explained by a combination of three factors: functional demand for the resources of TNAs, domestic democratic standards in the membership of IOs, and state concerns with national sovereignty. Third, existing research suffers from a selection bias that has led it to overestimate the general importance of popular opposition as a source of growing openness in global governance.