International Organizations

International institutions are “persistent and connected sets of rules (formal and informal) that prescribe behavioral rules, constrain activity, and shape expectations” (Keohane 1989:3)1.

There are two subsets of international institutions:
1. international regimes 2. international organizations:
The two subsets are similar in the sense that they are both “international social institutions characterized by behavioral patterns based on international norms and rules, which prescribe behavioral roles in recurring situations that lead to a convergence of reciprocal expectations” (Rittberger, et al., 5). However, they are different in two crucial ways. Firstly, they deal with different issue areas (issue-specific vs. transcending issue-areas). Secondly, they differ in the extent of instrumental capacity (non-actors vs. actor-like qualities).

Distinction between International Organizations

INGOs: non-profit oriented transnational organizations (civil society organizations) and profit-oriented transnational organizations (multinational corporations)

IGOs can be classified based on:
• their institutional design (i.e. their main function);
⁃ programme organization (setting of norms and rules) vs operational organization (implementing norms and rules)
• decision-making authority; and
⁃ INGOs (decentralized: states’ consensus required) vs supranational organization (more centralized; pooling and delegation of authority)
• inclusiveness
⁃ open executive-multilateral organization (private actors: consultative status) vs inclusive, multipartite organization (private actors: membership status)

Studying International Organizations

1. Identify key questions. 2. Identify different (possible) answers to these questions. 3. Use empirical knowledge and evidence to evaluate different possible answers.

1 Sedelmeier (2018) criticizes Keohane's definition in that it "conflate[s] definition of institutions with outcome to be explained" (p.9) Instead, he proposes a neutral definition, independent of institutional effects: institutions are a "set of rules that prescribe/proscribe behaviour" (p.??). He defines rules as "statements that forbid, permit or require certain types of behaviour" (p.??).

Sedelmeier, Ulrich.
Rittberger, Volker, et al. “Theories of International Organization.” International Organization, by Volker Rittberger et al., 2nd ed., Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp. 15-34.

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