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International authority and its politicization

  • Michael Zürn (a1), Martin Binder (a2) and Matthias Ecker-Ehrhardt (a3)

The article focuses on the politicization of international authority as a thus far little understood development in world politics. We first define the concept and show that there is an empirical trend towards politicization of international institutions. We then argue that the increasing authority of international institutions has led to their politicization and we relate this hypothesis to alternative explanations. The validity of the authority–politicization nexus is illustrated by the rise of international authority in parallel to politicization. We go on to distinguish different policy functions such as rule definition, monitoring, interpretation, and enforcement in order to show that especially those international institutions with a high level of authority meet with strong contestation of their competencies. We conclude the article by exploring various avenues for future politicization research.

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