Publications2021-11-16T15:30:40+00:00

Journal Articles

2021: The (Self-)empowerment of the European Central Bank During the Sovereign Debt Crisis, Journal of European Integration 43 (1): 83-98 (with Tony Mueller).2021-11-13T10:43:52+00:00

ABSTRACT

The European Central Bank (ECB) emerged from the sovereign debt crisis as one of the most powerful supranational institutions. Against this background, this article explains how and why the ECB became empowered during the euro area crisis. Building on the delegation, governor’s dilemma, and epistemic community approaches, we argue that the ECB ability to play a strong role in this empowerment process and to convince member states to entrust it with more competences was the outcome of a combination of three factors: limited cohesiveness within the collective principal (Eurogroup); a fiduciary relationship characterized by broad discretion and independence on the trustee side (ECB); and strong specialization with the ECB acting as epistemic entrepreneur. We illustrate our argument with two cases: the Trichet letters exemplify an autonomous emergency empowerment and the introduction of the single supervisory mechanism demonstrates ECB influence on institutional design decisions in negotiating processes.

 

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2021: Bringing Independence and Accountability Together: Mission Impossible for the European Central Bank? Journal of European Integration, forthcoming (with Tony Mueller).2021-11-13T10:41:12+00:00

Abstract

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) role as a political actor during the euro crisis raised concerns about its independence and insufficient accountability. Against this backdrop, the article investigates how and why the ECB reacted to demands for more accountability during and following the crisis. To this end, we revisit the independence-accountability nexus, adding three qualifications to the conventional wisdom that independence and accountability do not go together. First, recurring to the governor’s dilemma, we argue that a delegation relationship characterized by a high level of independence favours competence over controllability. Second, we open the black box of accountability by investigating the extent to which the ECB made the strategic choice to improve selected accountability dimensions. Third, against the commonsensical view that ECB accountability mechanisms are underdeveloped, this piece shows that certain accountability dimensions have been continuously improved to defend independence. The findings contribute to the literature on accountability and the causes and consequences of delegating power to supranational institutions.

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2021: The Limits of Transparency: Expert Knowledge and Meaningful Accountability in Central Banking, Government and Opposition, 1-16, doi.org/10.1017/gov.2020.36 (with Lisa Herzog).2021-11-13T10:36:21+00:00

Abstract

Recent discussions of accountability in contexts of expert knowledge raise questions about the limits of transparency. Against this background, we discuss the nexus between expert knowledge and meaningful accountability – that is, context-sensitive accountability based on a genuine understanding of a situation. We argue that the concentration of expertise in certain institutions makes it difficult to hold those institutions accountable. In particular, three components challenge meaningful accountability: specialization, inaccessibility and potential biases or conflict of interest. We emphasize the role of ‘epistemic communities’ and their impact on the tension between expert knowledge and independence. Drawing on the deliberative systems literature, we discuss how expert knowledge might be communicated to outsiders to enable meaningful accountability. To illustrate our argument, we draw on the European Central Bank, a case study in which states have chosen a delegation design characterized by a high degree of independence and trust in expert knowledge, to the detriment of accountability. We sketch possible avenues for creating the conditions for meaningful accountability even in the case of institutions with highly concentrated expertise.

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2021: Orchestrating Private Investors for Development: How the World Bank Revitalizes, Regulation & Governance, doi.org/10.1111/rego.12432 (with Thomas Dörfler).2021-11-13T10:33:58+00:00

Abstract

Confronted with a new wave of criticism on the in effectiveness of its development programs, the World Bank embarked on a revitalization process, turning to private investors to finance International Development Association projects and widening its mandate. To explain these adaptation strategies of the World Bank to regain relevance, this piece draws on organizational ecology and orchestration scholarship. We contend that international organizations rely on two adaptation mechanisms, orchestration and scope expansion, when they lose their role as focal actors in an issue area. We find that the World Bank has indeed lost market share and has relied on these two mechanisms to revitalize itself. We show that the World Bank responded to changes in the environment by orchestrating a private sector-oriented capital increase, prioritizing private funding for development through a “cascade approach,” and expanding the scope of its mandate into adjacent domains of transnational governance, including climate change and global health.

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2021: A new delegation design for EU governance: how preference cohesiveness of multiple principals shapes the European Commission’s discretion in trade negotiations, Comparative European Politics 19, 576–593.2021-11-16T14:31:02+00:00

Abstract

The Lisbon Treaty enhanced the role of the European Parliament in free trade agreements. This article offers a comprehensive theoretical and empirical account of this new delegation design in EU trade governance. Specifically, it addresses the question how the preference cohesiveness of multiple principals—the Council of Ministers as a de jure principal and the Parliament as a de facto principal—shapes the Commission’s discretion in negotiating trade agreements. Exploring these two conjectures through a combination of primary materials and interviews, this contribution posits that those configurations of low degree of cohesiveness within the Council and high cohesiveness within the Parliament or high cohesiveness of the Council and low cohesiveness within the Parliament increase Commission discretion. A configuration of low cohesiveness within and between multiple principals, by contrast, is more likely to lead to paralysis of the negotiation process.

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2021: Populism as a “Corrective” to Trade Agreements? “America First” and the Readjustment of NAFTA, International Politics, doi.org/10.1057/s411311-021-00306-3 (with Robert Csehi).2021-11-13T10:47:01+00:00

Abstract

The past few years have seen an upsurge in populist politics around the globe. Yet, its potential impact on the liberal international order has been analyzed mainly from a discursive perspective, and much less is known about actual policy implications. Adopting an ideational approach to populism and taking the case of the NAFTA renegotiation process as a building block in the liberal economic order, this article studies the populist imprints of the revised agreement. First, we demonstrate how the populist division of society between ‘the corrupt elite’ and ‘the honest people’ and the emphasis on popular sovereignty were used as narrative frames in criticizing NAFTA. In a second step, through selected provisions, we show how alterations to NAFTA are considered as ‘populist corrections’ to guarantee greater representation for ‘the people’ and better safeguards for popular sovereignty under the USMCA. The article concludes with a discussion of potential implications for global trade.

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2020: Reforming International Organizations: How Partisanship and Ministerial Control Shape States Preferences towards the World Bank, Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations 26 (4), 2020, 601–627 (with Laura Mahrenbach).2021-11-13T10:57:08+00:00

Abstract

Recent scholarship has highlighted the role of domestic pressures in determining state preferences toward the reform of international organizations (IO s). This article adds a new dimension by examining how partisanship and ministerial control affect state preferences toward IOempowerment. The article derives two expectations from the existing literature. First, partisan position will determine preferences toward IO empowerment. Second, when a government is constituted by multiple parties, the position of the party with the IO’s ministerial portfolio will determine the government’s position toward IO empowerment. The article illustrates this argument by examining the positions of four net donors (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and two net recipients (Brazil and India) during the World Bank’s reforms. By bringing domestic politics back in, this article complements existing studies on the politics of IOreform and weighs in on central debates in comparative politics and international political economy.

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2020: Contested EU Trade Governance: Transparency Conundrums in TTIP Negotiations, Comparative European Politics, 18: 215-232, doi.org/10.1057/s41295-019-00183-4.2021-11-13T10:47:41+00:00

Abstract

During TTIP negotiations, the European Commission was severely criticized by civil society organizations and public opinion for its secrecy regarding negotiation strategies and priorities. The Commission responded by making some negotiating texts publicly available. This article explores the implications of increasing transparency in trade negotiations. Drawing on negotiation, politicization, and informal governance literature, it examines how the Commission’s choice for a partial transparency approach had three paradoxical effects on negotiations. First, greater transparency did not help the public perception of TTIP. Second, greater transparency increased the EU’s bargaining leverage but led to a low degree of negotiating discretion for the Commission. Finally, greater transparency transformed the nature of the negotiating process by making it more informal, allowing bargaining parties to act outside the public scrutiny. This contribution solves these transparency puzzles by showing that partial transparency is a double-edged sword. Whilst greater transparency has become an important legitimation strategy in EU trade governance, adopting a partial transparency approach fuelled public protest instead of muting it and led to the failure of the negotiations.

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2019: Legacies and Innovations in Global Economic Governance Since Bretton Woods, Review of International Political Economy 26 (6): 1089-1111 (with Orfeo Fioretos).2021-11-13T10:50:48+00:00

The international economic system that emerged after the 1944 Bretton Woods conference became the most durable international arrangement devoted to economic openness. Seventy-five years after the conference, however, global shifts in power, institutional gridlock, and populist backlash figure prominently in accounts predicting the system’s demise. This article examines the legacies of the Bretton Woods conference for structures and practices of global economic governance and innovations that emerged over time to adapt the system to new political and economic circumstances. It explores how and why the Bretton Woods system became a more variegated system over time with respect to four features of governance: membership, legalization, organizational focality, and market embeddedness. It identifies sources and effects of expanding membership in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the emergence of new formal and informal institutions, the challenges of a more fragmented institutional landscape, and shifts in the underlying principles of economic governance. Finally, the article discusses lessons from past crises in and reforms to the Bretton Woods system, and their implications for understanding recent challenges to global economic cooperation.

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2019: Explaining Coherence in International Regime Complexes: How the World Bank Shapes the Field of Multilateral Development Finance, Review of International Political Economy 26 (6): 1160-1186 (with Henning Schmidtke).2021-11-16T07:17:42+00:00

Abstract

The landscape of multilateral development finance has changed dramatically in the past decades. At Bretton Woods, delegates envisioned the World Bank as the focal organization mobilizing financial support for national development strategies. Today, this issue area is populated by no less than 27 multilateral development banks including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank created under Chinese leadership. This paper shows that, des- pite this institutional proliferation, the development finance regime remains largely coherent and core governance features designed at Bretton Woods continue to shape the emerging regime complex. We develop a historical institutionalist argu- ment for why newly created institutions are likely to imitate extant institutions. We suggest that states add new institutions not only in response to deficiencies in extant institutions but also to increase their control and reputation. We analyze three causal pathways – path-dependence, orchestration, and independent learning – that contribute to a coherent regime complex. We show that focal inter- national organizations can use their position to prevent incoherence.

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2019: Global Democracy in Decline? How Rising Authoritarianism Limits Democratic Control over International Institutions, Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations, 25(2): 231-254 (with Henning Schmidtke).2021-11-13T11:00:25+00:00

Abstract

Over the past decade, rising authoritarian regimes have begun to challenge the liberal international order. This challenge is particularly pronounced in the field of multilateral development finance, where China and its coalition partners from Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa have created two new multilateral development banks. This article argues that China and its partners have used the New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to increase their power and to restrict democratic control mechanisms. By comparing formal mechanisms of democratic control in both organizations to the World Bank, this article shows that civil society access, transparency, and accountability are lower at the AIIB and NDB than they are at the World Bank.

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2018: Rising Powers in Global Economic Governance: Mapping the Flexibility-Empowerment Nexus, Global Policy 10(1): 19-28 (with Laura C. Mahrenbach).2021-11-15T14:35:57+00:00

Abstract

Given long-standing criticism of global economic institutions by rising powers, it is puzzling that these same governments supported the transfer of substantial resources and responsibilities to the IMF and the World Bank during recent reform negotiations. We argue rising powers’ support for international organization (IO) empowerment is linked to their concerns regarding an IO’s flexibility. We introduce two types of flexibility as being most relevant for rising powers. These include governance flexibility – the extent to which rising powers may participate in IO decision-making – and issue flexibility – the extent to which rising power preferences are incorporated into IO policies and programs. We illustrate our argument by examining the preferences of the BIC states (Brazil, India and China) towards IMF and World Bank reforms between 2008 and 2012. Drawing on archival material with over 50 statements from BIC representatives, we find, first, that there were clear links between Bank and Fund governance flexibility and the BICs’ support for empowerment of these IOs, but that this was not true for issue flexibility. Second, we find evidence indicating the strategies of individual BIC governments differ within these IOs, suggesting a need to undertake more differentiated studies of rising powers’ IO activities.

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2018: Lost in Internal Evaluation? Accountability and Insulation at the World Bank, Contemporary Politics 24(5): 568-587.2021-11-16T07:22:50+00:00

Abstract

Over past decades, the World Bank has been criticized by scholars, policymakers, and civil society groups for being unaccountable and inefficient. Confronted with this wave of contestation, the Bank established several internal accountability mechanisms, including the Inspection Panel, the Independent Evaluation Group, and the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman. Against this background, this article investigates how the proliferation of accountability mechanisms in a large and complex organization such as the World Bank reduces rather than enhances transparency and lines of accountability. I argue that the establishment of a myriad of accountability mechanisms has paradoxically made the Bank even more encapsulated and less accountable to the outside world. Unpacking the differential effects of external and internal accountability mechanisms makes this contribution of significant interest to scholars working on the accountability and performance of international organizations.

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2017: Shaping Global Trade Governance Rules: New Powers’ Hard and Soft Strategies of Influence at the WTO, European Foreign Affairs Review, 22: 19-36, Special Issue EU and US Regulatory Power under Strain? Emerging Countries and the Limits of External Governance.2021-11-16T07:31:13+00:00

Abstract

How do new powers seek to influence global trade governance rules? In this contribution, I posit that, contrary to the EU and the US, which act predominantly as regulatory powers, rising powers use a variety of hard and soft strategies to shape global trade governance. The article finds that a combination of hard strategies, such as coalition-building or obstruction, and soft strategies, including placing their own nationals at the top of the WTO or pursuing incremental procedural changes to make trade governance more inclusive, enabled new powers to shape global trade governance rules over the past fifteen years.

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2017: Measuring the Empowerment of International Organizations: The Evolution of Financial and Staff Capabilities, Global Policy 8(S5): 51-61 (with Henning Schmidtke).2021-11-16T07:39:27+00:00

Abstract

International organizations’ (IOs) power in shaping global governance outcomes is not only determined by the formal delegation of tasks and issue areas but also by the necessary capabilities to fulfill these tasks. Yet, extant research on the delegation of power to IOs gives few insights into the financial and staff capabilities of IOs and focuses mainly on the formal rules that specify IOs’ tasks and issue scope. To address these limitations, this paper makes three contributions. First, we propose a more encompassing concept of IO power which incorporates three principal components: tasks, issue scope, and capabilities. Second, we introduce a new concept – IO empowerment (IOE) – which encapsulates formal and informal changes in IO power over time. Third, we introduce a novel dataset on IO capabilities, which measures the formal rules governing IO staff and financial resources as well as the actual capabilities available to six well-known IOs over 65 years. These original data show that capabilities vary not only across IOs but also over time.

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* Amongst articles published between January 2017 and December 2018, this paper received some of the most downloads in the 12 months following online publication.

2017: Regaining Control of Errant Agents? Agency Slack at the European Commission and the World Health Organization, Cooperation and Conflict 52(4): 469-484.2021-11-16T07:34:10+00:00

Under which conditions are principals able to regain control when agency slack has occured? While existing research highlights a number of important factors related to the conditions under which agents engage in slack, scholars have to a less extent investigated which causal mechanisms affect the ability of states to regain control of their errant agents. Extending the principal–agent literature, this contribution argues that the ability of principals to regain control of their agents depends on three causal mechanisms: the type of monitoring mechanisms; the extent of fragmentation within an international organization; and the credibility of sanctions available to member states. To illustrate this argument, I compare two cases of agency slack: at the European Commission during the Eurozone crisis in 2015; and at the World Health Organization in the 1990s. The findings suggest that regaining control of runaway agents after slack has occurred is easier when there is a low level of fragmentation within an organization and states have centralized monitoring mechanisms and credible sanction mechanisms, such as budgetary contractions, at their disposal.

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2016: Verantwortungszurechnung im EU-Mehrebenensystem während der Eurokrise: Wer kontrollierte die Troika-Institutionen?, Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, Sonderheft Gewaltenteilung und Demokratie in der EU 26(1): 115-29.2021-11-16T07:43:22+00:00

Abstract

With the establishment of the troika institutions during the Euro crisis, issues related to possibilities for control and constraint of these institutions, as well as their accountability, became prominent. This contribution analyses the accountability of the troika institutions, that is, the extent to which agents and trustees are controlled at different levels by their principals or beneficiaries. Specifically, I distinguish between a delegation and a fiduciary mode of accountability in EU governance. While the delegation mode is characterised by formal hierarchical, supervisory and legal control mechanisms, the fiduciary mode is marked by informal peer organisations and public reputational mechanisms. In order to illustrate these two modes of accountability, this article examines a delegation relation (European Commission and Council of Ministers) and a fiduciary relation (European Central Bank and Eurozone-Member States) during the financial bailout assistance programmes.

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2016: Why the European Commission is not the “unexpected winner” of the euro crisis? A comment on Bauer and Becker, Journal of European Integration 38 (1): 95-100.2021-11-16T07:52:03+00:00

Abstract

The protracted euro area crisis has led to a resurgence of academic inter- est in integration theories. In a recent piece in this journal, Bauer and Becker argue that the euro crisis allowed the European Commission to strengthen its role in eco- nomic governance, in particular with regard to its implementation powers. Contrary to Bauer and Becker’s claim, I contend that the euro crisis has resulted not in strengthening the Commission. Rather, the Commission is undergoing “subtle disem- powerment”, that is, a gradual transfer of decision-making authority and resources from the Commission to the intergovernmental level and to the European Central Bank. I illustrate the Commission’s subtle disempowerment along three dimensions: the creation of the intergovernmental European Stability Mechanism; enhanced over- sight mechanisms of the Commission via the troika constellation; and the creation of the European System of Financial Supervision, Banking Union and Single Supervisory Mechanism under the aegis of the European Central Bank.

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2015: Internationale Organisationen in einer komplexen Welt – Grenzen und Mehrwert einer pluralistischen Forschung, Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 2014 Politische Vierteljahresschrift, Band 49: 478-493 (with Martin Koch und Andrea Liese).2021-11-16T08:07:24+00:00

Abstract

Das vorliegende Sonderheft bezeugt, dass sich die Forschung zu internationalen Organisationen sowohl in theoretisch-konzeptioneller Hinsicht deutlich weiterentwickelt hat als auch Beziehungen und Interaktionen mit anderen Akteuren stärker in den Blick genommen hat.

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2015: Machtverschiebung in internationalen Organisationen? Schwellenländer als Gestaltungs- und Verweigerungsmächte, Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, Heft 4, S. 101-108.2021-11-16T08:04:43+00:00

Abstract

Bislang übernahmen Schwellenländer in der Welthandelsorganisation (WTO) unter der Führung Brasiliens oder Indiens eine proaktive und gestalterische Rolle, indem sie neue Punkte auf die Agenda setzten oder Koalitionen bildeten. Zur besseren Berücksichtigung ihrer ökonomischen und finanziellen Bedeutung forderten sie im Rahmen der Reformen des Internationalen Währungsfonds (IWF) und der Weltbank mehr Mitspracherecht. Unzufrieden mit den Ergebnissen dieser Reformen – und insbesondere mit deren langsamer Umsetzung – gründeten Brasilien, Russland, Indien, China und Südafrika (BRICS) im Juli 2014 einen alternativen Währungsfonds und eine neue Entwicklungsbank. Somit wurde zum ersten Mal eine Parallelstruktur zu den Bretton-Woods-Institutionen kreiert und die Vormachtstellung der USA in diesen Organisationen infrage gestellt. Diese Beispiele verdeutlichen, dass die alte, liberale, von den USA dominierte internationale Ordnung unter Anpassungsdruck steht und Machtverschiebungen in der globalen Governance stattfinden. Ferner zeigen sie, dass sich Schwellenländer nicht mehr als „rule-takers”, sondern vielmehr als „rule-makers” (Schirm 2005) verstehen.

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2015: Autonomiekonzeptionen internationaler Organisationen im Vergleich, Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 2014 Internationale Organisationen, Band 49: 28-53 (with Michael W. Bauer und Jörn Ege).2021-11-16T08:11:23+00:00

Abstract

Der viel beschworene Trend des zunehmenden Aufgabentransfers an internationale Organisationen hat dazu geführt, dass diese in der akademischen Debatte (wieder) verstärkt als ‚Organisationen‘ betrachtet werden (Benner et al. 2009; Biermann u. Siebenhüner 2009; Brechin u. Ness 2013; Dingwerth et al. 2009; Liese u. Weinlich 2006). Dass internationale Organisationen in jüngerer Zeit in wachsendem Maße Einfluss auf die multilaterale Politikgestaltung ausüben, wird dabei mit Blick auf die Praxis gar nicht bestritten. Theoretisch interessant sind folglich die Bedingungen, unter denen sie Einfluss eigenständig und autonom ausüben können (Hawkins et al. 2006; Hooghe u. Marks 2014) sowie die Frage, wann und wie Prozesse institutioneller Ermächtigung im Zeitverlauf vonstattengehen (Conceição-Heldt 2013a).

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2015: Internationale Organisationen als Forschungsgegenstand. Oder „Über Blinde und die Gestalt des Elefanten“, Politische Vierteljahresschrift Sonderheft 2014 Internationale Organisationen, Band 49: 4-27 (with Martin Koch und Andrea Liese).2021-11-16T08:03:16+00:00

Abstract

Im Zentrum dieses PVS-Sonderhefts steht die Frage nach der veränderten Rolle internationaler Organisationen und den Konsequenzen ihres Handelns in der bzw. für die Weltpolitik. Wurde bis in die 1980er Jahre vor allem die Koordinationsfunktion internationaler Organisationen an Schnittstellen zwischen Staaten thematisiert, lässt sich seit dem Ende des Kalten Krieges eine Zunahme der an internationale Organisationen übertragenen Aufgaben und Kompetenzen beobachten, die nicht an den staatlichen Grenzen haltmachen, sondern über diese hinaus in Gesellschaften hineinwirken (Zürn 2010). Währenddessen hat sich der Aktionsrahmen internationaler Organisationen erweitert, indem sie etwa Normen für nichtstaatliche Akteure generieren, die Regeldurchsetzung und Implementierung aktiv unterstützen, als Mittler zwischen streitenden Staaten fungieren, zu immer mehr politischen Themen Informationen sammeln und bereitstellen, politische und gesellschaftliche Entwicklungen überwachen und immer häufiger auch Sanktionen legitimieren oder verhängen.

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2014: When Speaking with a Single Voice Isn’t Enough: Bargaining Power (A)symmetry and EU External Effectiveness in Global Trade Governance, Journal of European Public Policy 21(7): 980-995.2021-11-16T08:16:43+00:00

Abstract

Does the European Union (EU) need to be a cohesive actor internally in order to be effective in global trade governance? And is internal cohesiveness a necessary and sufficient condition for the Union’s external effectiveness? Even though these questions are central to explaining the EU’s effectiveness, only few studies have dealt with it. In this contribution, I argue that internal cohesiveness is not a sufficient condition for EU external effectiveness. The bargaining configuration, determined by bargaining power symmetry or asymmetry, equally conditions effectiveness. This argument is illustrated by two case studies with varying bargaining power. The findings demonstrate, first, that high internal cohesiveness and bargaining power asymmetry can lead to high effectiveness, as in the EU–Mexico negotiations. Second, they show that, under a relationship of bargaining power symmetry, high cohesiveness is not a sufficient condition for external effectiveness to occur, as is evident in the Doha round.

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2014: Speaking with a Single Voice: Internal Cohesiveness and External Effectiveness of the EU in Global Governance, Journal of European Public Policy 21(7): 961-979 (with Sophie Meunier).2021-11-16T08:13:40+00:00
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2013: Emerging Powers in WTO Negotiations: The Domestic Sources of Trade Policy Preferences, The International Trade Journal Special Issue on the WTO, 27(5): 431-449.2021-11-16T08:38:50+00:00