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"The Design of International Organizations. Fostering Diplomatic Deliberation?"

Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Start: October 2017 (for 3 years)

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Diana Panke

Research Associates: Franziska HohlsteinGurur Polat       

Research Assistants: Sarah Bordt, Lea Gerhardt, Sebastian Lehmler, Laura Lepsy, Laura Maghetiu, Leonardo Rey, Edward Vaughan, Philipp Wagenhals, Fabiola Mieth, Leylan Sida, Pauline Grimmer, Chiara Fury, Laurenz Schöffler, Nicolas Koch, Jannik Schulz, Isabel Gana Dresen

dfg-projekt deliberation 2017dt


Whether we look at constitutions, founding treaties, or the rules of procedure of states and International Organizations (IO), it is striking that many rules on interaction between actors create room for deliberation, whilst simultaneously limiting the time available for discussion. While the latter speeds up decision making, it risks reducing its quality and legitimacy. How are these competing elements formally and de facto balanced in IOs? Do IOs differ in this respect, and if so, how and why? The project first assesses variation in the extent to which institutional design fosters or inhibits diplomatic deliberation in IOs. Second, a survey captures the actual usage of institutional rules. On this basis, the project explains variation, fit, and mismatch in institutional design and diplomatic deliberative practices within and across IOs. Third, the project examines how and under what conditions deliberative institutional design and deliberative diplomatic practices impact IOs’ problem solving effectiveness and legitimacy. 

Major Objective:

The number of International Organizations (IOs) and the body of international law has considerably increased since the end of WWII. At the same time, we still know little about how IO institutional designs differ and how variation in their deliberative quality influences the dynamics of interaction between states and ultimately also negotiation outcomes. Accordingly, the project has three major aims: (1) to assess and explain the varying extent to which IOs are institutionally designed to facilitate deliberation among diplomats, (2) to measure deliberative diplomatic practices and explain why they differ between IOs and when and why they might deviate from the formal institutional design of a given IO, and (3) to analyze the nexus between the deliberative quality of institutional design and diplomatic practices of IOs as well as their problem solving effectiveness, decision making speed, and legitimacy. 

Thus, the project:

§  offers novel empirical insights into the extent to which IOs’ institutional designs are deliberative in nature and into deliberative diplomatic practices across a representative set of IOs

§  develops explanations for variation in diplomatic deliberation between IOs, across stages of the policy-cycle (agenda-setting, negotiation, decision-taking), across interaction arenas (plenaries, committees) and across policy areas

§  provides novel insights into the workings of institutions as well as into practices which limit the effect of deliberative design features or which operate as functional equivalents for formal institutional rules

§  generates essential and original knowledge about the extent to which an IO can foster state-state deliberation & provides insights into which compositions of deliberative design provisions could optimize the relationship between speedy, legitimate and high quality decision making in different IOs


 research team


Conference Contributions:

  • "The Deliberative Diplomatic Design of International Organizations. A Factor Analysis" - EPSA Conference, Belfast, 18 June 2019
  • Diplomatic Deliberative Practices in International Organizations: Does Institutional Design Matter?"  - 60th ISA Annual Convention, Toronto, 28 March 2019.
  • "The Institutional Design of International Organizations: Fostering Deliberation or Speeding up Decision Making? - 60th ISA Annual Convention, Toronto, 28 March 2019.
  • "The Power of Rules: Studying the Deliberative Design of International Organizations“, - 59th ISA Annual Convention, San Francisco, 6 April 2018.


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