Organizational Progeny: Why Governments Are Losing Control over the Proliferating Structures of Global Governance

Tana Johnson
Oxford University Press

In life, delegation is fundamental but difficult, especially when attempted internationally where much hinges on the design of delegation relationships. What prompts an entity to fall in line – and if it does not, what can be done? For international organizations, the conventional answer seems simple, but Johnson, assistant professor of public policy and political science, shows that the conventional answer is outdated.

States rarely design international organizations alone instead negotiations usually involve international bureaucrats employed in pre-existing organizations. To unveil these overlooked but pivotal players, the book introduces new data on nearly 200 intergovernmental organizations and detailed accounts of the origins of prominent and diverse institutions

International bureaucrats often strive to insulate new institutions against the usual control mechanisms by which states steer, monitor, or reverse organizational activities. This increases control costs for states, is difficult to roll back, and even produces bodies that powerful countries initially opposed. The result is a proliferation of organizational progeny over which national governments are literally losing "control." Johnson explores what this means for the democratic nature of global governance and how practitioners can encourage or staunch this phenomenon.