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Control, soft information, and the politics of international organizations staffing

Control, soft information, and the politics of international organizations staffing This article offers insights into the aggregate patterns of the geographical distribution of professional staff in some of the major international organizations (IOs). Building on the principal-agent framework, I argue that powerful member states seek dominant positions in IOs’ secretariats, in an effort to increase their ability to control them. At the same time, it is often the weakest low-income countries that are the IOs’ primary clients. Over-representation of the most powerful states is likely to lead to functional and legitimation problems for the IOs, in particular with regard to the IOs’ lack of access to ‘soft’ information about the countries in which they operate. Using a newly created dataset covering 19 major bodies of the United Nations family, I identify two aggregate patterns in the geographical distribution of their professional staff. First, the most powerful states dominate IOs’ secretariats. Second, however, many IOs systematically deviate in their staffing practices from this overall pattern, as well as from the existing rules that formalize it, and relatively over-represent also low-income countries. What results is a curvilinear (U-shaped) pattern where both powerful and very poor states are over-represented in many IOs’ professional staff. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Review of International Organizations Springer Journals

Control, soft information, and the politics of international organizations staffing

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References (67)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general; Political Science; Economics, general
ISSN
1559-7431
eISSN
1559-744X
DOI
10.1007/s11558-016-9252-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article offers insights into the aggregate patterns of the geographical distribution of professional staff in some of the major international organizations (IOs). Building on the principal-agent framework, I argue that powerful member states seek dominant positions in IOs’ secretariats, in an effort to increase their ability to control them. At the same time, it is often the weakest low-income countries that are the IOs’ primary clients. Over-representation of the most powerful states is likely to lead to functional and legitimation problems for the IOs, in particular with regard to the IOs’ lack of access to ‘soft’ information about the countries in which they operate. Using a newly created dataset covering 19 major bodies of the United Nations family, I identify two aggregate patterns in the geographical distribution of their professional staff. First, the most powerful states dominate IOs’ secretariats. Second, however, many IOs systematically deviate in their staffing practices from this overall pattern, as well as from the existing rules that formalize it, and relatively over-represent also low-income countries. What results is a curvilinear (U-shaped) pattern where both powerful and very poor states are over-represented in many IOs’ professional staff.

Journal

The Review of International OrganizationsSpringer Journals

Published: Apr 26, 2016

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