The politicization of international economic institutions in US public debates
Recent research has noted a trend of increased “politicization” of international politics, i.e., decisions of international institutions are increasingly debated and contested within civil society. What is lacking so far are explanations for this trend. In this paper we derive four potential explanations and empirically test them. The first two, society-centered, hypotheses focus on the process of socio-economic modernization on the one hand and civil society structures on the other. The second pair of polity-centered hypotheses focuses on the decision-making power of international institutions and on their legitimacy. We measure politicization on the basis of a quantitative content analysis of US quality newspaper articles about four decisions of different international institutions in the issue area of international taxation. Our finding is that politicization is driven by the increasing decision making authority of international institutions rather than by the lack of legitimacy of their procedures or the factors emphasized by society-centered approaches.
KeywordsPoliticization International institutions Authority Legitimacy Mobilization International trade International taxation
JEL classificationF13 F21 F55 F68 H87
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