International institutions have acquired an almost obvious presence in international politics. Remarkably, they come in such diverse forms as international organizations with permanent secretariats and nearly universal membership (such as the United Nations) and bilateral agreements in a specific policy field (such as bilateral investment treaties). Some are highly legalized (such as the World Trade Organization), while others only foresee consultations among the members in case of dispute. Originally researched under the flag of regime analysis, and more recently, under the flag of the rational design of international institutions, this workshop aims to build on and critically engage with the existing literature on international institutions, by inviting theory-guided empirical research, whether in the form of single case studies, comparative case-studies across institutions or over time, or large-N quantitative analyses.
Our workshop proposes to tackle the twin questions of (1) why the design of international institutions differs so widely in terms of institutionalization, legalization, flexibility, and degree of delegation, as well as (2) whether and how this variation in institutional arrangements matters for forms of political interaction and policy outcomes.