Ege, Jörn

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Under what conditions does bureaucracy matter in the making of global public policies?

2023, Ege, Jörn, Bauer, Michael W., Wagner, Nora, Thomann, Eva

This study investigates how configurations of bureaucratic autonomy, policy complexity and political contestation allow international public administrations (IPAs) to influence policymaking within international organizations. A fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 17 policy decisions in four organizations (FAO, WHO, ILO, UNESCO) shows that all IPAs studied can be influential in favorable contexts. When policies are both contested and complex, even IPAs lacking autonomy can influence policy. If either complexity or contestation is absent, however, it is the variant of autonomy of will that helps the IPA exploit procedural strategies of influence. Low autonomy of will, among other factors, explains why IPAs cannot exert influence. Conversely, the variant of autonomy of action appears largely irrelevant. The study provides new insights into the role of bureaucracy beyond the state, exemplifying how research of bureaucratic influence can yield more systematic results in various empirical settings.

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Avoiding disciplinary garbage cans : a pledge for a problem-driven approach to researching international public administration

2022-07-03, Ege, Jörn, Bauer, Michael W., Bayerlein, Louisa, Eckhard, Steffen, Knill, Christoph

In this article, we distinguish two approaches to studying international public administrations (IPAs). On the one hand, there is a line of research that is grounded in traditional Public Administration (PA) and seeks to understand IPAs through established disciplinary lenses. On the other hand, scholars conceive IPAs as posing new problems and questions and are trying to integrate the standpoints of their respective disciplines into a broader research agenda. We argue that both perspectives have their merits – and limitations. However, the more IPAs are understood as phenomena heralding the emergence of transnationalized political systems, the less traditional PA toolkits appear able to capture the innovative aspects IPAs may hold. This essay thus argues for keeping IPA research as a field of study open, integrative and mixed – to encourage out of the box thinking and innovation, rather than stifle it.