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ECPR Virtual General Conference 2020

Peer and Expert Review in International Organisations: Addressing Implementation and Accountability Deficits?

International Relations
Public Administration
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Thomas Conzelmann
Maastricht Universiteit
Panel Discussant
Hortense Jongen
Maastricht Universiteit

09/09/2016 14:00 - 15:40
Building: Faculty of Law Floor: 2 Room: FL225
International organisations have frequently been faced with problems of uneven or faulty implementation. At the same time, global governance arrangements have been criticised for their lack of transparency and accountability.

Peer and expert reviews of state's policy performance have been discussed increasingly widely as a possible response to these problems of implementation and accountability. The key feature of such reviews is the collection of information on state performance in a given policy area and the ‘peer’ or ‘expert’ assessment of this information against certain common standards. Peer and expert reviews draw domestic and international attention on states’ policy performance. Peer pressure, benchmarking and learning dynamics, and the naming and shaming of states may be triggering better implementation. Likewise, external assessments of a state’s performance may increase the transparency of state conduct and thus facilitate both vertical accountability to domestic electorates as well as horizontal accountability to ‘peer states’ and to INGOs.

Examples for peer and expert reviewing schemes are manifold, ranging from peer reviews in the OECD over the peer and expert reviews on human rights organised in the UN context up to the recently installed peer and expert reviews in the field of anti-corruption policies, sustainable development, good governance, and the fight against terrorism. While first generation scholarship has mostly been concerned with the emergence and design of these governance arrangements, the present panel focuses on the authority and effectiveness of these schemes: Do peer and expert reviews help to address the implementation and accountability deficits of global governance?

More specifically the proposed panel addresses the following issues:
- How can we assess the significance of peer and expert reviews both in methodological and in empirical terms? Possible measures are a sociological concept focusing on the recognition of the authority of reviews, a public policy approach focusing on domestic policy impact, and institutional perspectives highlighting accountability dynamics.
- How can we explain variations concerning the significance of reviews in these various respects? Answers may be found in the organisational environment of the respective IO, in differences of the institutional design of peer and expert review, the distinct domestic and global audiences at which reviews are targeted, and in the characteristics of the specific policy area in which peer and expert reviews are organized.
- Do peer and expert reviews differ systematically in their functioning and their effects on implementation and accountability dynamics? Are expert reviews less politicised? Do peer reviews carry bigger political weight?

The papers convened for this panel cover both methodological and empirical approaches to the questions discussed above. They cover a wide variety of policy fields (antiterrorism, anticorruption, human rights, good governance, sustainability, economic policy) and distinct international organizations (EU, OECD, United Nations, African Union, Council of Europe).

Paper List

Title Details
Measuring Impact: The GRECO Peer Review and State Compliance with International Anti-Corruption Treaties View Paper Details
OECD and IEA Country Reviews and Peer Pressure: The Types and Determinants of Policy Impact View Paper Details
Peer-reviewing in international institutions: States’ activity in WTO Trade Policy Review Mechanism View Paper Details
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