Principal-Agent Theory and the World Trade Organization: Complex Agency and ‘Missing Delegation’

Elsig, Manfred (2011). Principal-Agent Theory and the World Trade Organization: Complex Agency and ‘Missing Delegation’. European journal of international relations, 17(3), pp. 495-517. Sage 10.1177/1354066109351078

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This paper analyses the World Trade Organization within a principal-agent framework. The concept of complex agency is introduced to focus on the variety of actors that comprise an international organization. Special attention is paid to the relationship between contracting parties’ representatives and the Secretariat. In the empirical part, the paper analyses the role of the Secretariat in assisting negotiations and presents evidence of declining influence. It is shown how principal-agent theory can contribute to addressing this ‘puzzle of missing delegation’. The paper concludes with a cautionary note as to the ‘location’ of international organizations’ emerging pathologies and calls for additional research to address the relationship between material and social sources to explain behaviour of the key actors within the complex agency.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > World Trade Institute
10 Strategic Research Centers > World Trade Institute

02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > NCCR International Trade Regulation
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Elsig, Manfred

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 340 Law
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 380 Commerce, communications & transportation
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science

ISSN:

1354-0661

Publisher:

Sage

Language:

English

Submitter:

Manfred Elsig

Date Deposited:

01 Sep 2014 09:42

Last Modified:

31 May 2017 12:44

Publisher DOI:

10.1177/1354066109351078

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.49438

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/49438

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