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Article

The Evolution of International Organization as Institutional Forms and Historical Processes to 1945  

Bob Reinalda

The evolution of international organizations (IOs) can be divided into three phrases. The first phase started with the Congress of Vienna (1814–15), which set in motion a series of innovations, inventions, and learning processes, shaping the core of what we now call IOs. The second phase of international organization in the nineteenth century is characterized by the building of permanent institutions. This is reflected in the new and dominant term “union” for organization. The term “public international union” (PIU) became the overarching term for the by intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. PIUs have been regarded as “early IGOs” which later transformed into specialized agencies of the UN system, with their subdivisions as institutional prototypes for the League of Nations and the UN. The third phase of international organization is the continued existence of IOs during the first half of the twentieth century. The outbreak of World War I can be regarded as an exogenous shock to the evolutionary development of IOs. During the war, the concept of international organization was not lost and was even central to the thinking on international politics in the UK and the US. Detailed plans for an international peace organization, using the term “international government”, were produced and discussed by politicians and citizens. These plans, which became part of the institutional strategy devised by the US, strongly reflected the organizational experiences of the PIUs.

Article

Public Administrators in Natural Hazards Governance  

Scott E. Robinson and Warren S. Eller

Natural hazards governance calls upon a diverse array of actors. The focus of most research—and most media coverage—has long been on governmental actors. Indeed, natural hazards governance relies on a complex arrangement of actors connected from the local, state, and national levels. Local organizations are the initial point of contact and face emerging threats. If the event exceeds the capacity of local organizations to respond, the governance system escalates the problem by expanding the participants to include state-level and, eventually, national-level actors. Natural hazards governance seeks to smooth and rationalize this process of escalation and expansion. Recent research has expanded this view to include nongovernmental actors like charitable organizations, religious institutions, and even private business. While charitable organizations have long been part of natural hazards governance, a broader range of charities, religious institutions, and private-sector companies has recently become more important to practice and scholarship. In many ways, the governance of these nongovernmental organizations resembles the structure of the governmental structure with its emphasis on escalation, expansion, and functional differentiation. Given the inclusion of so diverse a group of cooperating organizations, natural hazards governance faces notable challenges of communication, authority, and reliability.

Article

Paradiplomacy  

Nahuel Oddone

Transformation processes in the international arena have led to giving greater importance to transnational affairs, as well as greater recognition of nonstate actors and their influence on world politics. In this context, the concept of paradiplomacy was introduced to analyze the participation of local and regional governments in international relations (IR). Paradiplomacy is increasingly a subject of IR scholars’ studies. These have helped to systematize and to make visible the behavior of local and regional authorities, especially their contribution to international relations. During this process, a greater conceptualization of the term has also been constructed, overcoming the case studies and shaping an emerging formal field of research. Paradiplomacy is gaining momentum in terms of its diffusion to the extent that ideas and recommendations cross borders and spread through the academic communities through congresses, seminars, publications, and/or technical meetings. Nevertheless, the paradiplomacy research agenda may still be considered an incipient theoretical research agenda. Although important efforts have been recognized for the delimitation and conceptual systematization, it is timely to deepen the analysis at global and regional scales.

Article

Natural Hazards Governance in Democratic States With Developed Economies  

Patrick S. Roberts

Natural hazards have evolved from being the responsibility of subnational governments—if the government intervened all—to become a core function of national governments. The cost of disaster losses has increased over time in states with developed economies, even as fewer lives are lost. Increasing losses are caused by an increasing number of extreme weather events, which wreak havoc on urbanizing populations that build expensive structures in vulnerable locations. Hazards governance attempts to use political and organizational tools to mitigate or prevent damage and bounce back when disasters occur. In large and developed states, authority for hazards governance is fragmented across levels of government, as well as the private sector, which controls much of the infrastructure and property that is subject to losses. The political consequences of disaster losses are mixed and depend on contextual factors: sometimes politicians, government agencies, and nonprofit and voluntary organizations are blamed for failures on their watch, and sometimes they are rewarded for coming to the rescue. The study of disasters has become more interdisciplinary over time as scholars seek to integrate the study of natural hazards with socio-political systems. The future of hazards governance research lies in improving understanding of how to manage multiple, overlapping risks over a period of time beyond next election cycle, and across levels of government and the private sector.

Article

Fiscal Implications of Managing Natural Disasters for National and Subnational Governments  

Qing Miao

Natural disasters cause massive social disruptions and can lead to tremendous economic and human losses. Given their uncertain and destructive nature, disasters invariably induce significant governmental responses and typically pose severe financial challenges for jurisdictions across all levels of government. From a public finance perspective, disasters cause governments to incur additional spending on various emergency management activities, and by disrupting normal business activities they also affect tax base robustness and cause revenue losses. The question is: How significant are these fiscal effects and how do they affect hazards governance more generally? Understanding the fiscal implications of natural disasters is essential to evaluating the size of the economic costs of disasters as well as forecasting governments’ financial exposure to future shocks. Furthermore, how disaster costs are shared among different levels of government is another important question concerning the intergovernmental dynamics of disaster management. In the US federal system, the direct fiscal costs of natural disasters (i.e., increased government expenditures due to disaster shocks) are largely borne by the federal government. It is estimated that Hurricane Katrina cost the federal government approximately $120 billion while Hurricane Sandy cost $60 billion. Even in the years without large-scale disaster events, federal disaster spending is between $2 billion and $6 billion annually. Under the Stafford Act, the federal government plays a critical role in funding disaster-related programs (e.g., direct relief, mitigation grants, and subsidized insurance programs) and redistributing the actual costs of natural hazards, meaning that a considerable portion of the local disaster burden is shifted to all US taxpayers. This raises a set of issues concerning the equity and efficiency of the US disaster policy framework. Managing disasters involves multiphased activities to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disaster shocks. There is a common belief that the federal government inappropriately spends far more on ex post disaster response, relief, and recovery than what it spends on ex ante mitigation and preparedness, often driven by political motivations (e.g., meeting voters’ preferences for postdisaster aid) and the current budget rules. As pointed out by many others, federal disaster relief and assistance distort the subnational incentive to invest in local disaster prevention and mitigation efforts. Furthermore, given the mounting evidence on the cost-effectiveness of disaster mitigation programs in reducing future disaster damages, the current practice of focusing resources on postdisaster assistance means substantial public welfare losses. In recent years there has been a call for the federal government to shift its disaster policy emphasis toward mitigation and preparedness and also to facilitate local efforts on mitigation. To achieve the goal requires a comprehensive reform in government budgeting for emergency management.

Article

Federalism, Decentralization, Intergovernmental Relations, and Educational Provision in Five Latin American Countries  

Gilda Cardoso de Araujo

Federalism is a common object of study in various fields, including political science, economics, law, and history. In the field of education, however, the analysis of how educational policies are shaped by federal contexts is relatively recent. Despite the influence of U.S. constitutionalism and federalism, the historical trajectory of both Latin American federalisms and the distribution of responsibility for providing education are characterized by a centralizing federalism. This was the case at least until the final years of the 20th century when decentralizing processes based on cooperative intergovernmental relations, linked to a transfer of authority that limited the equitable provision—both in quality and quantity—of public education began.

Article

Intergovernmental Relations in Latin America: Determinants and Dynamics  

Julieta Suarez-Cao

Intergovernmental relations in Latin America present a varied sample of both institutional determinants and actual dynamics. Constitutional structures regulate whether countries have a federal or a unitary system of territorial distribution of power and stipulate the territorial levels of government. Thus, constitutions structure the number of vertical and horizontal intergovernmental relations. Actual dynamics, however, depend on policy prerogatives that establish subnational authority vis-à-vis the national administration. These prerogatives, usually understood in terms of power, responsibilities, and resources, shape the territorial balance of power within a country. Power, responsibilities, and resources can be combined to apprehend the degree of authority in the hands of regional governments. Such authority is analytically organized into two dimensions: the regional power of self-rule and the power to share rule with national decision makers. This distinction helps to explain that the trend toward increasing regional authority is mostly a product of decentralization and devolution politics that have enhanced self-rule, rather than reforms that advance the shared rule dimension. Nevertheless, neither constitutional structures nor new regional policy prerogatives are the only determinants of the dynamics of intergovernmental relations. Informal institutions, such as subnational coalitions and local political clientelism, are particularly relevant to understanding the actual balance of power between national and subnational governments and among subnational arenas.

Article

Federalism and Policy Implementation  

Kenneth Wiltshire

Implementing public policies in federations involves clashes of concept and practice. In its design, federalism is not particularly conducive to the formulation and implementation of public policy because the acclaimed strengths of a federal form of government, including diversity, fragmentation of power and sovereignty, and responsiveness to regional and cultural interests, all serve to make the introduction of national policies complex and challenging. This is especially the case regarding the implementation phase of policies which tends to be a most difficult task given the layers and negotiating steps through which policies must pass before being delivered to clients. Success in implementing public policies in federations requires a mixture of strategies that can range from coercion to collaboration and cooperation. Achieving performance with accountability throughout this process has proven difficult in most federations. Moreover most of the literature has avoided the client perspective, in particular whether citizens really care about the vagaries of federal arrangements as they simply want to see the programs that affect their daily lives delivered efficiently, effectively, and accountably.

Article

Multi-Level Governance and Public Administration  

Edoardo Ongaro

The literature on multi-level governance (MLG) and the field of the administrative sciences and public administration (PA) can be fruitfully integrated in order to generate knowledge about “the administrative dimension of MLG.” MLG may be defined by Piattoni as “the simultaneous activation of governmental and non-governmental actors at various jurisdictional levels” and perspectives derived from MLG may be applied to a wide set of issues spanning from political mobilization (politics), to policymaking (policy), to state restructuring (polity). It is along each of these sets of issues that it is possible to delineate the contribution that the field of PA can provide to the development of MLG. To MLG as political mobilization, the PA literature brings insights about participatory approaches and collaborative governance. To MLG as policy in multi-level settings, the PA literature brings insights about the functioning of multi-level administration and the role of a multi-level bureaucracy in policymaking processes occurring in compound political systems; the PA literature also contributes insights on public accountability in systems where decision responsibility is blurred, and issues of legitimacy arise. To MLG as polity restructuring, the PA literature offers insights on the administrative dimension of polity restructuring processes, as well as on the dynamics of systemic change and the change management of public governance arrangements. The study of MLG may benefit from drawing from a range of conceptual tools and models developed in the field of PA. Complementarily, PA as an interdisciplinary field of scholarship may benefit from the perspective of MLG, which provides it with a platform to expand the application of concepts like those of collaborative governance; bureaucratic influence on policymaking; public accountability in multi-actor, multi-level settings; or systemic-level change management. In this sense, the generation of knowledge about the administrative dimension of MLG is an addition to both MLG studies and to the field of PA.

Article

The History of International Organization(s)  

Bob Reinalda

The emerging discipline of political science recognized international organization as an object of study earlier (i.e., around 1910) than international law, which, through an engagement with League of Nations ideals, began to follow the developments of international organizations (IOs) during the 1920s, and history, which kept its focus on states and war rather than on IOs until the early 2000s. The debate between liberal institutionalism and (dominant after 1945) realism deeply influenced the study of IOs. The engagement of the United States in the United Nations System, however, stimulated further studies of IOs and produced new theoretical orientations that left room for realist factors. The modernization of international relations studies through regime theory eventually removed the need to ask historical questions, resulting in short-term studies of IOs, but new approaches such as constructivism and historical institutionalism contributed to studies of long-term change of IOs and critical junctures in history. The main international relations approach traces the rise of the United Nations System (or, more broadly, IOs) as an instrument of American exceptionalism in the world. This view is being criticized by the paradigmatic turn in the discipline of history in the early 2000s, which has included IOs in its research and relates the creation of IOs to imperial powers, such as the United Kingdom and France, that wanted to safeguard their empires. These historical studies start in 1919 rather than 1945 and question international relations’ Western-centrist universalism by including competing universalisms such as anticolonial nationalism.

Article

Evolution of International Organization as Institutional Forms and Historical Processes Since 1945: “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodies?”  

Jacques F. Fomerand

International organizations (IOs) are a byproduct of the European Westphalian anarchical interstate system to facilitate interstate international economic, social or technical cooperation. They grew exponentially in the second half of the 20th century and have become a ubiquitous component of the international relations landscape. There is now a glut of theories, each making different assumptions about the nature of international politics, focusing attention on different aspects of IO and propounding widely diverging conclusions about the role and functions of IOs. There is, however, a trend among these: the legal/historical tradition which initially provided the intellectual lens through which IOs were understood has given way to a mix of realist regime theory and liberal intergovernmentalism views. In a broad comparative public policy analysis framework, scholarship continues to evolve on the norm-making, regulatory, distributive, and redistributive policies emanating from IOs together with their impact and legitimacy.

Article

Liberal Intergovernmentalism  

Andrew Moravcsik

Liberal Intergovernmentalism (LI) is the contemporary “baseline” social scientific and historiographic theory of regional integration—especially as regards the European Union. It rests on three basic assumptions, which in turn support a three-stage theoretical model of integration and the elaboration of numerous distinctive causal mechanisms. Considerable historical and social scientific evidence supports the LI view, but room also remains for scholars to extend and elaborate its framework in promising ways. Three prominent criticisms of LI exist. Some scholars of “administrative politics” charge that it applies only to treaty-amending decisions and other rare circumstances. “Historical institutionalists” charge that it overlooks endogenous feedback from previous decisions. “Post-functionalists” and “constructivists” revive discredited claims from the 1960s that functional theories neglect the central role of identity claims and ideology in explaining national interests. While each criticism contains some truth, LI possesses rich theoretical resources with which to address them fruitfully and musters compelling evidence to support its empirical claims. This confirms LI’s preeminent role in scholarly debates and suggests a soberly optimistic future for European and regional integration.