ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Towards Better Governments? A Theory of IO Policy Diffusion

Monika Bauhr
University of Gothenburg
Monika Bauhr
University of Gothenburg
Open Panel

Abstract

Do international organizations reduce corruption and promote quality of government? Although the processes of norm diffusion are well explored, there are few systematic assessments of the means that IOs use to promote norms. This paper develops a theoretical framework for IO power, and traces the roots of IO success or failure to factors that are internal to the strategies that they employ. We suggest that the level of integration involved in IO strategies, i.e. the extent to which IOs integrate countries in international communities of values and exchange as opposed to simply contesting domestic orders, is key to understanding the relative importance of these internal weaknesses, and thereby the effects of IO involvement. Our analysis of recent advances in our understanding of how international organizations reduce corruption and promote quality of government show that when IOs contest existing orders using governance rankings and aid conditionality they suffer from ideational shortcomings, including lack of objective data and contested policy advice. In contrast, measures based on integration, such as the membership process of international organizations or interaction with transnational actors, are more likely to suffer from internal procedural shortcomings, such as IOs failing to internalize and mainstream the norms that they seek promote. The paper thereby offers an explanation for the dissonance between broad empirical studies that confirm the link between IO involvement and reduced corruption and the numerous case studies that fail to find this positive correlation