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Consideration of Expert Knowledge

International Public Administrations as Policy Experts

Consideration of Expert Knowledge

International Public Administrations as Policy Experts

Funding

German Research Foundation

June 2014 to May 2017

407.300 Euro

Research context

 

The research project is embedded in the larger research group “International Public Administrations. Emergence and Development of Administrative Patterns and their Effects on International Policy-Making”, which is funded by the German Research Foundation from 2014 to 2017 with a possible extension to 2020. The research group brings together researchers from Public Administration and International Relations in 6 sub-projects. The following research institutions are involved in the research group: Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität München, German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, Freie Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Darmstadt, University of Konstanz, and University of Potsdam. It is concerned with the question how different patterns in administrative structures of international public administrations, in their roles in political decision-making and in their relations to other actors in politics and society may be explained. The different research projects in the research group analyse administrative styles, autonomy, expert knowledge, time rules and time horizons, multi-level structures and influence. In doing so, different theoretical perspectives from Public Administration and International Relations are applied.

For further information on our research project, please also see the leaflet.
Para más información acerca de nuestro proyecto de investigación, por favor, revisen el folleto.
Pour en savoir plus au sujet de notre projet de recherche, veuillez lire la brochure d’information.

Funding

German Research Foundation

June 2014 to May 2017

407.300 Euro

Research questions and goals

This project starts from the observation of studies in International Relations that in many different policy areas international organizations increasingly use expert knowledge when they seek to contribute to national and international policy-making. In this context, international public administrations, which are embedded in international organizations as distinct organizational entity, fulfil important functions, above all by generating, processing and disseminating expert knowledge. For example, they make expert knowledge available to their member states. They also derive and communicate specific advice for the development of national and international policies on the basis of that expert knowledge. Amongst others, they formulate policy guidelines for the reform of existing or the introduction of new policies. Their advice may target all or individual states and the advice may include individual policies or comprehensive policy packages. Moreover, international public administrations give direct advice to states or prepare meetings with state delegates, during which new policies are discussed and/or developed. These observations raise the question, to what extent and how the expert knowledge and the resulting policy advice of international public administrations are recognized and taken into account in states as their primary target group. They also raise the more fundamental question to what extent international public administrations may be able to orient the preferences, strategies, and policies of states in international policy-making as a result of their expert knowledge and policy advice. Against this background and adopting an International Relations perspective, we therefore devote our research in the first phase of the research group to the following questions:

  • To what extent and under what conditions do states take into account expert knowledge and policy advice of international public administrations as a premise for further decisions and actions in the policy-making process?
  • To what extent and why does the consideration of expert knowledge and policy advice of international public administrations by states vary across different international public administrations?

Theoretically, we contribute to existing research on international public administrations by testing explanations for the consideration of expert knowledge and policy advice from different strands in contemporary International Relations theories: rationalist, sociological, and critical constructivist strands. Previous studies on international public administrations have been typically characterized by the consideration of a single theoretical perspective. Methodologically, we seek to contribute to existing research by adopting a comparative and quantitative research strategy. Previous research on international public administrations has been dominated by qualitative single case studies. By contrast, we compare and explain the variation of the extent to which states take into account expert knowledge and policy advice of international public administrations in two policy fields, namely agriculture and finance, and in four policy subfields within each policy field. To this end, we collect data on the consideration of expert knowledge and policy advice and some of its determinants by means of a survey of 960 officials in ministerial bureaucracies in 120 states and analyse this data using descriptive and inferential statistics.

In sum, we thereby seek to elucidate to what extent and under what conditions international public administrations contribute to international policy-making by means of their expert knowledge and policy advice. Ultimately, we aim to improve the knowledge about the role of international public administrations in international policy-making and its determinants.

Publications

  • Per-Olof Busch and Andrea Liese (2017), The Authority of International Public Administrations, in: Michael W. Bauer, Christoph Knill and Steffen Eckhard (eds.), International Bureaucracy. Challenges and Lessons for Public Administration Research, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 97-122.
    More information at Palgrave Macmillan

Conferences

  • ISA Annual Convention, Baltimore, 22 - 25 February 2017
    Presentation of findings
  • ECPR General Conference, Charles University in Prague, 7 - 10 September 2016
    Presentation and discussion of first findings
  • ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, University of Warsaw, 29 March - 2 April 2015
    Presentation and discussion of the methodical framework
  • ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, University of Salamanca, 10 - 15 April 2014
    Presentation and discussion of the conceptual framework

Invited Presentations

  • WIPCAD Lecture Series, University of Potsdam, 2 December 2015
  • Institute for World Society Studies, Bielefeld University, 26 January 2016