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Who gets to live forever? Toward an Institutional Theory on the Decline and Death of International Organisations

Who gets to live forever? Toward an Institutional Theory on the Decline and Death of International Organisations

Objective

Many international organisations (IOs) are under significant pressure. The World Health Organization was heavily criticized over its handling of the Ebola outbreak. The United States has not contributed to the UNESCO budget since 2011 and plans to quit in 2018. The United Kingdom is negotiating its exit from the EU and Burundi left the International Criminal Court. The ultimate way for states to show their discontent is to disband IOs: no less than a third of the IOs, created between 1905 and 2005, has formally ceased to exist. While academics have analysed how IOs are designed and develop, we know virtually nothing about decline and death. This project addresses therefore the question why do IOs decline or die?

The key innovation is to complete the theory on the 'life and death of IOs'. The main hypothesis is that some IOs, due to their specific institutional characteristics, are better at longevity than other IOs. Flexible IOs are more likely to live longer, because they can adjust and be more responsive to external pressures, such as wars, reduced trade volumes or political turnover in the member states. Larger IOs are also more likely to live longer, as it will be more difficult for states to replace them with other IOs. They may also be in a better position to fight off external pressures, including from the membership.

This project uses a mixed methods approach. Through an innovative survival analysis, it analyses the effect of institutional characteristics on the likelihood that IOs decline or die as a result of external pressures. This requires the compilation of a new dataset. The quantitative analysis is complemented with fine-grained case studies of IOs at risk of declining and dying across different policy areas. These case studies are informed by unique data resulting from interviews.

Host institution

UNIVERSITEIT MAASTRICHT

Address

Minderbroedersberg 4-6
6200 Md Maastricht

Netherlands

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 499 977

Beneficiaries (1)

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UNIVERSITEIT MAASTRICHT

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 1 499 977

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 802568

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 January 2019

  • End date

    31 December 2023

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 499 977

  • EU contribution

    € 1 499 977

Hosted by:

UNIVERSITEIT MAASTRICHT

Netherlands