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ASPA/SICA Panel

SICA’s Panel for ASPA 2021

Panel Title

Civil Servants in Transnational and Supranational Spaces:

Influence, Migration, and Legitimacy

Chair: Kim Moloney, Murdoch University, Australia

Discussant: Jos C.N. Raadschelders, Ohio State University, US

Papers and Panellists:

  1. “Theorizing the policy influence of international public administrations: A condition-based approach” by Jörn Ege, Michael W. Bauer, Nora Wagner (all co-authors are from the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, Germany)
  2. “Is Anyone Out There? International Organizations’ Response to Asylum Seekers at the United States/Mexico Border” by Jennica Larrison (University of Baltimore, US) and Jungwon Yeo (University of Central Florida, US).
  3. “International Administrative Law, International Organization Tribunals, and ‘Justice’ for International Civil Servants” by Kim Moloney (Murdoch University, Australia)
  4. “Structured interactions between national and international civil servants: influencing and being influenced in policy dialogue” by Tony Verheijen (World Bank, Tunisia) and Katarina Staronova (Comenius University, Slovakia)

Paper Abstracts:

  1. “How do international bureaucrats affect policy outputs? Explaining IPA influence strategies in International Organizations” Jörn Ege, Michael W. Bauer, Nora Wagner (all co-authors are from the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, Germany plus Baur also has an appointment at European Union Institute)

Abstract: International Public Administrations (IPAs), embodied within the secretariats of international organizations (IOs), receive increasing scholarly attention. A remaining challenge is to develop systematic analytical research strategies to determine international bureaucratic influence—especially with view to how IPAs influence policy making and policy change within IOs. This paper outlines a research strategy on how such “policy influence” of IPAs can be conceived and systematically explained. It focuses on a condition-based approach to policy influence (to be distinguished from a process-based logic of analysis) that emphasizes ex-ante preference identification of bureaucratic actors as well as functional, power-related and intra-bureaucratic explanations. Particular care is taken to select suitable cases—i.e., relevant policy decisions within four IOs (UNESCO, ILO, FAO and WHO) in order to study the extent to and conditions under which bureaucratic influence can be observed. We conclude that condition-based and process-based influence studies are best combined in a sequential way to establish the ‘when’ and ‘how’ of international bureaucratic influence. While we are only able to empirically illustrate the added value of the suggested condition-based approach as one side of this story, it is argued that the analytical distinctions developed and the selection procedure for policy events proposed are crucial to advance the applied empirical study of IPAs influence on policy making.

  • “Is Anyone Out There? International Organizations’ Response to Asylum Seekers at the United States/Mexico Border” by Jennica Larrison (University of Baltimore, US) and Jungwon Yeo (University of Central Florida, US).

Abstract: Since the formal enactment of US Migration Protection Protocols in 2019, more than 67,000 individuals seeking asylum in the United States have been forced to remain in Mexico while they await the US asylum process. This policy creates significant strain on resources at the US/Mexico border, and threatens the safety of asylum seekers at the border. This research examines the role of international organizations in addressing the needs of asylum seekers on the United States/Mexico border. In particular, this study explores what organizations are engaged and how these organizations are working together to cope with the issue. This study analyzes network data collected through content analysis of situation reports or after-action reports published by engaged international organizations. Based on the findings, the study suggests some practical implications for the international organizations’ response to asylum seekers at the United States/Mexico border.

  • “International Administrative Law, International Organization Tribunals, and ‘Justice’ for International Civil Servants” by Kim Moloney (Murdoch University, Australia)

Abstract: Despite a recent proliferation in scholarship focused on international public administration and the understood importance of international civil servants and international organizations to domestic and global affairs, this sub-field has neglected the influence of international administrative law on the (in)abilities of international civil servants to obtain internal justice vis-à-vis their employer: the international organization. Drawing on Tribunal data and more than three dozen legal cases, this paper discusses whether institutional and functional immunities, administrative tribunals, and the sources and objects of international administration law influence whether international organizations can be held accountable for alleged injustices against their employees. Further concerns about the challenges of due process, judicial review, appeals, remedies and retaliation are also shared. Each are additional angles for scholars of public personnel management, administrative law, and public policy to question international organization accountability.

  • Structured interactions between national and international civil servants: influencing and being influenced (Tony Verheijen, World Bank; Katarina Staronova, Comenius University)

Ongoing research in the context of a book project on this topic (Verheijen, el Ghandour, Lefebvre and Staronova) aims to provide evidence based insights in  three aspects of globalization that we consider critical; i) the impact of international ratings and rankings and how they affect civil servants (accountability, politico-administrative relations); ii) direct engagement between international civil servants (from IFIs as well as organizations like the European Commission) and national officials on policy and reform design; iii) the impact of the global movement on transparency and access to information. We argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more pertinent as a topic, as an illustration of how global cooperation is the only way forward when addressing issues that clearly go above the level of the nation state or even regional organizations. In conducting the research, we build on theoretical models that address these particular issues, including the model on the impact of ranking and scores developed by Judith Kelley in ‘Scorecard Diplomacy’ (2017) and the analytical model developed by Welsh and Wong (1998) on how national civil servants and civil servant systems respond to globalization and international engagements to build our own methodological approach. In addition, we are using a blend of vignettes and traditional interviews to test our hypotheses with a select group of senior officials and political appointees from four MENA countries. The paper will lay out the methodological framework for the study as well as  the research methods we have applied and some of the initial results (as the book project should be delivered by June 2021) and aims to trigger a discussion on how we can build an evidence-based model for analyzing the impact of globalization on national civil servants.