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The Review of International Organizations

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 465–488 | Cite as

Does stakeholder involvement foster democratic legitimacy in international organizations? An empirical assessment of a normative theory

  • Hans Agné
  • Lisa Maria Dellmuth
  • Jonas Tallberg
Article

Abstract

The involvement of non-state organizations in global governance is widely seen as an important step toward global democracy. Proponents of “stakeholder democracy” argue that stakeholder organizations, such as civil society groups and other non-state actors, may represent people significantly affected by global decisions better than elected governments. In this article we identify a particularly promising sociological variant of this argument, test it against new evidence from a large-scale survey among stakeholder organizations with varying levels of involvement in international organizations (IOs), and find that the suggested stakeholder mechanism for producing democratic legitimacy in global governance does not work. Stakeholder involvement is unproductive for democratic legitimacy in IOs as perceived by stakeholders themselves. We suggest alternative explanations of this finding and argue that empirical analysis is useful for adjudicating normative arguments on the viability of stakeholder democracy in global governance.

Keywords

Democracy Democratic theory Normative theory Civil society Stakeholder democracy Global democracy Legitimacy Global governance International organizations Non-state actors UN 

Supplementary material

11558_2014_9212_MOESM1_ESM.zip (62 kb)
ESM 1 (ZIP 61.5 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Agné
    • 1
  • Lisa Maria Dellmuth
    • 2
  • Jonas Tallberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Departement of Political ScienceStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Stockholm Resilience CentreStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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