ECPR General Conference
Universität Hamburg, Hamburg
22 - 25 August 2018

21st Century International Bureaucracy: People, Power, and Performance

International Relations
Public Administration
Public Policy
Section Number
Section Chair
Jörn Ege
University of Exeter
Section Co-Chair
Per-Olof Busch
Universität Potsdam

This Section addresses various aspects of the design, impact, and landscape of international bureaucracy, understood as the multitude of international administrations within or behind international organizations. The Section brings together a diverse set of theoretical and methodological approaches that build bridges between International Relations, Public Administration, and Public Policy. The Panels address questions from leadership to representativeness ('people'), from relations between member states and the administration(s) to political dynamics inside bureaucracies ('power'), from the efficiency of international bureaucracy to its influence on policy-making and its relevance for implementation of policies ('performance').

Jörn Ege and Per-Olof Busch are part of a research unit on International Public Administration.
Jörn Ege co-leads the project “The Consequences of Bureaucratic Autonomy for International Administrative Influence” (at DUV Speyer) and is currently visiting researcher at the University of Exeter.
Per-Olof Busch co-leads the project “From expert authority to policy transfer. How and under which conditions does IPA policy advice matter?” and is post-doc researcher at the University of Potsdam.

Panel 1: International Public Administration, Global Policy and Transnational Administration: Concepts, Connections, and Differences
(Kim Moloney, Murdoch University; Diane Stone, University of Canberra/University of Warwick)
The Panel engages concepts of international public administration, global public policy and transnational administration. This includes public/private actors concerned with global policy (across territorial levels) as potentially supplementing narrower perspectives on international bureaucracy (e.g. IO secretariats). Panelists explore conceptual differences, theoretical implications, and practical impact for member-states. Concept relevance (or an amalgamation of concepts) for international civil servants, international civil services, and policy/administrative life internal and external to IOs (including informal IOs) is discussed.

Panel 2: International bureaucracies reaching out: coordination and cooperation beyond organizational boundaries
(Maarja Beerkens, Leiden University; Ronny Patz, LMU Munich)
In a world of complex policy problems, coordination and cooperation with external actors has become a major topic. International bureaucracies often have to deal with cross-cutting issues, and they operate in fragmented organizational fields of overlapping ‘territories’ and conflicting goals. Furthermore, they are increasingly dependent on support from other external actors. This Panel examines how, why, and with what success IOs and their bureaucracies interact with, or orchestrate, other IOs and non-governmental actors for meeting their organizational or broader policy goals.

Panel 3: International bureaucracies' influence on public policy and international organizations
(Jörn Ege, Speyer/Exeter)
Previous research has successfully identified different administrative, political and context-related factors that enable international bureaucracies to wield influence on the development and implementation of public policies. However, integrative approaches that allow for a comparative analysis of several explanatory factors under a common theoretical framework are rare. Against this background, the Panel aims to contribute to the current debate about the policy impact of international bureaucracies. It invites conceptual and empirical Papers on the role of international bureaucracies in the provision of public policy that may come from a variety of disciplines.

Panel 4: Bureaucrats, experts, and representatives: Monitoring in multi-actor networks
(Valentina Carraro, Thomas Conzelmann, University of Maastricht)
International treaties may be monitored by international bureaucracies, by independent experts, or by state delegates. This Panel discusses why and under what conditions states make use of monitoring by bureaucrats, experts, or state representatives and the different types of expertise these groups possess. Another focus is on how these various types of actors interact in the process of monitoring, and how bureaucrats, experts, and representatives gain authority as monitors. Papers in this Panel disaggregate the abstract concept of monitoring and zoom in on the concrete actors and interactions involved in the process.

Panel 5: Interactions of International Bureaucracies with Sub- and Non-State Actors
(Thomas Hickmann, University of Potsdam)
Many scholars perceive international bureaucracies as distinct actors and argue that they have adopted crucial functions in contemporary global policy-making. While their studies have provided important insights, only little attention has been paid to the interplay between international bureaucracies and the plethora of sub- and non-state actors that have joined national governments in the global policy arena. To bridge this research gap, this Panel invites Papers that explore the interactions of different types of international bureaucracies with sub- and non-state actors.

Panel 6: Bureaucratic representations
(Klaus Schlichte, University of Bremen)
Not only IOs but bureaucracies in general are producers of representations that gain political relevance as officalized knowledge. Such representations are certainly a functional requirement for any aspiration of rule. At the same time, such forms and contents of bureaucratic representations develop a life of their own and are part and parcel of what we perceive as "international relations" or even as political phenomena in world society. By looking into different internationalized policy fields we want to compare how these representations are produced, and what kind of practical and political implications they entail. Apart from the list below, we are open for further contributions.

Panel 7: The International Civil Service: What do we know and what do we need to know
(Fanny Badache, University of Lausanne)
Despite the attention given to international civil service in the early years of the United Nations, international civil servants seem currently “invisible” in the academic literature. Overall it is argued that we need to bring people back into the study of international bureaucracies to advance scientific knowledge of the organization at a whole. The objective of this Panel is thus to discuss the state of the art of the international civil service and to provide new theoretical and methodological perspectives pertaining to the study of UN staff.

Panel 8: International bureaucracies as cognitive actors
(Per-Olof Busch, Potsdam)
Knowledge and expertise of international bureaucracies is often conceived as major source of their autonomy, power and influence. Yet, related research is still nascent, in particular when it comes to understanding and explaining processes of knowledge production or to analysing the use of international bureaucracies’ expertise by other actors and its consequences. Papers should address at least one the following questions: What knowledge do international bureaucracies select, how and why? How do they process and disseminate knowledge? What are the consequences of their knowledge and expertise?

Panel List

P039Bureaucratic Representations View Panel Details
P040Bureaucrats, Experts, and Representatives: Monitoring in Multi-Actor Networks View Panel Details
P224Interactions of International Bureaucracies with Sub- and Non-State Actors View Panel Details
P231International Bureaucracies as Cognitive Actors View Panel Details
P232International Bureaucracies' Influence on Public Policy and International Organizations View Panel Details
P233International Bureaucracies Reaching Out: Coordination and Cooperation beyond Organizational Boundaries View Panel Details
P236International Public Administration, Global Policy and Transnational Administration: Concepts, Connections, and Differences View Panel Details
P456The International Civil Service: What do we know and what do we need to know View Panel Details
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"Aristocracies … may preserve themselves longest, but only democracies, which refresh their ruling class, can expand" - Hugh Trevor-Roper

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