Edited by Soonhee Kim, Shena Ashley and Henry W. Lambright
International organizations seem to be persistently gaining in importance vis-à-vis national governments. One crucial dimension of the significance of international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO) is their growing administrative basis. It looks as though the defining feature of international interaction in the twenty-first century is thus no longer ‘anarchy’ but ‘bureaucratization.’ This development raises questions about the role of international bureaucracies in global governance. We know little, however, about the factors that determine administrative influence in the international context. This is the gap we address here by studying the ‘autonomy’ of the administrative basis of international organizations. We will concentrate specifically on intra-organizational structures as a (we believe, decisive) dimension of the bureaucratic autonomy of what are in essence secretariats of international governmental organizations (IGOs). As we explain below, there are other (non-structure-based) ways of empirically conceptualizing bureaucratic autonomy. We believe, however, that focusing on structural aspects is the appropriate choice when embarking on an empirical-analytical endeavor aimed at eventually enabling comparisons between a large number of international bureaucracies.
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