The Legitimation of International Organizations: Introducing a New Dataset

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  • Henning Schmidtke
  • Niklas Krösche
  • Swantje Schirmer
  • Tobias Lenz

This article introduces a new dataset on how international organizations (IOs) justify their authority. For a long time, IOs were believed to derive legitimacy from member-state consent and technocratic problem-solving capacities. Over recent decades, the growing politicization of IOs, political polarization within Western democracies, and power shifts in the international system have spurred IOs' efforts to justify their right to rule, using a variety of legitimation practices. While research on the theory and practice of IO legitimation has grown considerably over the past decade, much of this work builds on case studies of prominent global and regional IOs. As a result, we lack data suitable for systematic comparative analyses across time, IOs, and world regions. The Legitimation Strategies of Regional Organizations (LegRO) dataset aims to narrow this gap, providing data on the standards, intensity, and modes of legitimation for twenty eight regional IOs from 1980 to 2019. These variables inform theoretical and policy-relevant research on contemporary global governance by providing the first systematic overview of IOs' legitimation practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberekad008
JournalInternational Studies Perspectives
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)86-110
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2024

Bibliographical note

This research was funded by the Leibniz Association under its “Leibniz-Junior Research Groups” scheme (grant number J31/2017). Tobias Lenz leads the research group.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s) (2023). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association.

    Research areas

  • Politics - conjunto de datos, cooperación regional, cooperation regionale, dataset, discours, discourse, discurso, international organizations, jeu de donnees, justificación, justification, legitimación, legitimation, organisations internationales, organizaciones internacionales, pratique, Práctica, regional cooperation