Scholars are increasing focused on how and why states design international institutions. International relations theories have historically guided research on these institutions, but have not provided adequate insights into the theoretical bases for their design. Rationalists’ theories of domestic politics offer an alternative approach to understanding institutional design. This study utilizes the positive theory of public bureaucracies to examine the design of an international institution, the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC), and contends that the institutional choices states make are ultimately strategic choices about anticipated institutional outcomes. Research results demonstrate that institutional choices for bureaucratic structure, organizational mandates, and decision-making authorities for CEC are consistent with the theory of public bureaucracies. Politicians, interest groups, and bureaucrats sought or supported specific institutional features that were driven by their preference for the content and direction of policy that would emerge out of the institution.
Keywords: International institutions, politics of structural choice, institutional design, positive theory of public bureaucracies, CEC.
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ALLEN, L. (2018), ‘Domestic Politics and the Design of International Institutions’, Journal of Global Analysis, 8(1): 9-43.
Do international institutions matter, and if so, how do they matter? These questions have driven much debate and research within the field of international relations for decades, however definitive answers have remained elusive. Historically, much of the research on international institutions has examined conditions under which institutions are formed or their consequentialism. More recent research, however, has focused on the origins of the institutional designs. Concurrent with this latter shift in focus has been recognition of the strategic nature of institutional choices made by states, grounded in rational choice theory. Yet, research to date has not applied rationalist theories of domestic politics to understanding the design of international institutions, even though scholars contend that these theories may offer important insights into how institutions are designed and how they matter.
The research documented herein builds on previous scholarship on the rationale origins of institutional design, but explicitly draws upon domestic politics theory rather than traditional international relations theory to examine the detailed design of a particular international institution, the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). In doing so, this research contends that the institutional choices states make regarding the structure of an international institution are ultimately strategic choices about anticipated institutional outcomes and effectiveness. Given the strategic nature of the institutional choices, international institutions matter to the extent that states want them to matter, and more importantly, sometimes institutions may be intentionally designed to fail because of irreconcilable competing interests among key actors.
Literature Review and Framework for Analysis
Research on international institutions has evolved considerably over the years.1 Early research focused on conditions under which institutions emerge and whether or not institutions affect state behavior (see e.g. Young, 1989, 1991; Hasenclever, et al., 1997). Characterized as power-based, interest-based, and knowledge-based (Hasenclever et al., 1997) or structural, game-theoretic, functional, and cognitive (Haggard and Simmons, 1987), this early research elucidated the role that power, interests, and knowledge may play in the emergence of international institutions. Subsequent research focused on empirically evaluating the effectiveness of institutions and identifying exogenous and endogenous factors that influence their effectiveness (see e.g. Hasenclever, et al., 1996; Levy, et al., 1995); this research provided useful assessments of institutional effectiveness while linking effectiveness to specific factors. Neither of these research streams, however, provided any insights into the theoretical bases for the constitutive design of international institutions.
More recent research has focused on understanding the theoretical bases for the design of international institutions to answer the question posed by Koremenos, et al. (2001, p. 769) “. . . how and why are international institutions designed as they are?” Relying on a mix of rationalist and functional theories, this research seeks to relate specific institutional features, such as their membership and scope, to the preferences and interest of states as well as contextual factors (see e.g. Koremenos, et al., 2001; Rosendorff and Milner, 2001). Although this research highlights the rational calculations and strategic interactions of states when they craft international institutions, it doesn’t explicitly explore the source of the institutional choices made by states, instead taking them as exogenously defined. Moreover, the research ignores the domestic political actors and bargaining process that are crucial to understanding institutional design.
The continued reliance on international relation theories to study international institutions has generally been criticized for being state-centric, for treating the state as a unitary actor, and for failing to consider the strategic choices made by states in the establishment of an institution (Haggard and Simmons, 1987; Martin and Simmons, 1998;). According to Haggard and Simmons (1987), prior research on international institutions has downplayed the fact that foreign policy is “integrally related to domestic structures and processes” (p. 499) even though this research has shown that domestic political issues spill over into international politics and foreign policies have domestic roots and consequences (see e.g. Hasenclever, et al., 1996, Martin and Simmons, 1998, see also DeSombre, 2000).
Research that has sought to overcome these limitations, known as domestic regulatory politics, is focused on how domestic structures and actors shape state interests, in particular through expectations about the domestic effects of institutions or regimes in operation (Raustiala, 1997a). In general, domestic regulatory politics has demonstrated that domestic variables do exert a major influence on state behavior when establishing international institutions (Hasenclever, et al., 1996), however, different scholars have tended to focus on different sources of influence and there is no overarching theory for the relationship between domestic politics and institutional choices at the international level.
Haas’ (1958), Keohane and Nye (1977), and Putnam (1988) examined the strategic interactions between actors at the domestic and international levels , however, their research did not explain how domestic factors or actors influence the establishment of either international policy or institutions, and in general, domestic factors were largely seen as constraints on state actions (see also Evans, et al., 1993). Other scholars have examined the role of specific domestic actors in strategically pursuing their own interests in the formulation of international policy and identified a multitude of actors, including Congress, private companies, nongovernmental organizations, the President, executive agencies, epistemic communities, and the judiciary, amongst others, that influence the formation of international institutions and policy (see e.g. Harris, 2001; Mitchell, 1994; Haas, 1990; Falkner, 2001; McCormick, 1999, Wapner, 1995; DeSombre, 2000; Raustiala, 1997b).
However, as Young (2002) notes, states are complex, corporate actors whose constituent elements have different and sometimes conflicting interests in regards to individual regimes. Therefore, to understand the development of international institutions and policies, one needs to examine the specific actors and politics within the domestic arena and their competing influence on state behavior at the international level. At present, there are no specific international relation theories to explicate the relationships between domestic actors and politics and international institutions. Given the limitations of past research efforts, Martin and Simmons (1998) propose using rationalists’ theories of domestic politics to study international institutions and to understand the strategic nature of institutional choices made by state, and theories of domestic political institutions or public bureaucracies may be well-suited to examining international institutions. Similar to international institutions, domestic public bureaucracies emerge out of political processes and have particular sets of rules and procedures that provide incentives and stable structures for interactions between actors. The institutional and organizational structure of these bureaucracies strongly influences their ability to achieve particular public policy goals. To understand the rationale foundations of domestic political organizations Moe (1989, 1990a, 1990b, 1991, 1997) has developed a positive political theory of bureaucracies that explicitly relates politics to the design of bureaucratic organization.
According to this theory, public bureaucracies arise out of politics and their structural design reflects the motivations, interests, strategies, and compromises of political actors, in particular, interest groups, politicians, and bureaucrats, who exercise influence over the bureaucracy’s design (Moe, 1989, 1990a). In a process referred to as the “politics of structural choice”, actors design an institution based on their preference for the content and direction of policy that emerges out of the bureaucracy, thus their choices about structure are implicitly choices about policy outcomes (Moe 1989; Horn, 1995; Hammond, 1986). In pursuing their structural choices, actors must overcome three problems: an expertise or principal-agent problem, a political uncertainty problem, and a political compromise problem, which influences the institutional design (Moe, 1989; see also Horn, 1995).
To test the power of the positive theory of public bureaucracies in explaining the design of an international institution, the theory was used to analyze the design of CEC, an international institution created to address the environmental effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). CEC was selected for this analysis for several reasons. First, international institutions vary widely in terms of their size and complexity, and it seems likely that an analysis of their institutional design would be proportional to their size and complexity. In principle, the theory of public bureaucracies could be applied to analyze an international institution of any size and complexity, however, a relatively small institution with a limited number members and a focused mandate is likely to be easier to analyze than a larger institution, with many members and a complex mandate, ceteris paribus. This research is the first application of the theory of public bureaucracies to studying international institutions and CEC, a small, narrowly focused institution, was selected primarily to keep the analysis manageable. The selection of CEC on this basis should not introduce any bias from a theoretical perspective, as the premise for this research is that the same politics of structural process occurs for international institutions of all sizes, only a smaller institution should be easier to analyze than a larger one.
Second, there is a considerable amount of information readily available on the establishment of CEC, especially on the negotiation of its institutional design and many of the key actors that were involved in the negotiation were still available for interviews, which may not be the case for many international institutions, especially those that were established many years ago. Information from the archival records and interviews is essential for completing an in-depth qualitative case study. Selection of CEC on the basis of the availability of information should not introduce any bias from a theoretical perspective, for the same reason as noted above. Third, CEC was clearly a product of domestic politics and thus lends itself well to the testing of a theory of domestic politics. This last reason, however, may argue against selecting CEC as the case study if the role of domestic politics in its establishment is unique to this institution, as it would not be representative or prototypical of international institutions and the research would not be generalizable to a broader set of international institutions. While it is not possible to definitively determine whether CEC is unique or not in its origins, there is a sizable body of research that suggests that it is not unique (see e.g. Charnovitz, 1997; Mitchell, 1994; Raustiala, 1997b; DeSombre, 2000). Thus, there are other international institutions for which domestic politics likewise played a role in their formation, and CEC would be considered a representative case and the results of this research may be generalizable to at least this subset of international institutions.
The research design consists of a single case study that draws on multiple sources of qualitative data. Case studies, including single case studies, are a commonly used research approach in the social sciences, and single case studies may be used for testing a well-formulated theory (Yin, 1994). Within the field of international relations, the single case study approach has been frequently used for studying international institutions (see e.g. Keohane, et al., 1993; Mitchell, 1994). Multiple data collection methods used for this research include: documentation, archival records, and interviews.2 Principal sources of data for the documentation and archival records include: journalistic and non-academic publications (e.g. Inside US Trade), academic publications, published compilations of position papers or other governmental documentation (e.g. Magraw, 1995), unpublished reports, letters, and position papers provided by interviewees or obtained from US executive branch agencies through a Freedom of Information Act request, and governmental publications, including US Congressional testimony and Canadian Parliamentary testimony. The principle sources of data for interviews were key actors involved in the negotiation and establishment of CEC (27 interviews), including representatives from environmental advocacy organizations, national and sub-national governments, and the private sector from each of the three countries. Data were analyzed using multiple techniques, including counterfactuals, process tracing, and content analysis.
The central thesis of this study is that the institutional choices that states make regarding the structure of an international institution are ultimately strategic choices about anticipated institutional outcomes and effectiveness. Using the theoretical framework provided by the positive theory of public bureaucracies, this case study examines in detail the institutional design choices of three key actors: interest groups, politicians, and bureaucrats to assess how closely their design choices match those predicted by the theory. According to the theory, interest groups that support creation of a new institution favor structures such as: rigid constraints on an agency’s mandate and decision-making procedures; formal agency independence or placement within a friendly executive department; reliance on professionalism and civil service; limited number of political appointees with limited power; and limited political oversight, that lock in their policy preferences and insulate the bureaucracy from others with opposing interests (Moe, 1990a, 1991, 1997). Interest groups that oppose a new institution seek structures such as: fragmented authority; decentralization; checks and balances; cumbersome, heavily judicialized decision procedures; extensive use of objective assessments for agency decisions; active and influential roles for political appointees; and onerous requirements for monitoring of agency operations and review of agency decisions, that allow for a high degree of intervention to undermine policy goals of the other groups (Moe, 1989).
Legislators seek structures that predominantly reflect the interests of their core constituents and allow for particularized control for intervention, such as citizen suit provisions and complex procedural requirements for intervention (Moe, 1989; Horn, 1995). Presidents want to advance their broader public policy initiatives and support bureaucratic designs that promote effective governance and enhance presidential control, such as placement within executive departments and subordination to hierarchical authority; political appointees with decision-making authority for important oversight, budget, and policy coordination functions; no complex procedures or excessive judicial review (Moe, 1989, 1990b; West and Cooper, 1989). Lastly, bureaucrats that are involved in formation of new bureaucracies seek structures that promote effective governance, such as professionalization and reliance on civil service; formalized decision procedures; and monopolized information required for political oversight (Moe, 1989, 1990b).
Overall, the theory of public bureaucracies provides a useful framework for understanding institutional choices associated with creation of a domestic public bureaucracy that emerges out of a political process similar to an international institution. Notwithstanding this similarity, it is important to note that there may be some differences between a bureaucracy that is established for a domestic arena and one that is established for an international arena, and these differences should be considered in the analysis. One of the key differences is that an international bureaucracy, once established, is removed from and thus operates and is overseen at arms-length from the domestic political arena, whereas a domestic bureaucracy is subject to much more direct political control. In addition, by its very nature, an international bureaucracy may acquire a culture and loyalties that transcend national boundaries compared to a purely domestic bureaucracy. The theory of public bureaucracies, however, has the flexibility to accommodate these differences, because the key actors involved in the establishment of the institution can select structures that anticipate these outcomes. In other words, politicians, bureaucrats, and interest groups take into consideration the differences in ex post political oversight, culture, and loyalties when designing an international bureaucracy ex ante.
Background on CEC and Research Results
CEC is an international environmental institution that was established to address the environmental effects of trade liberalization under the NAFTA between the US, Mexico, and Canada, such as: the potential creation of pollution havens in Mexico due to lax enforcement of environmental laws in that country; downward harmonization of environmental laws; accelerated exploitation of natural resources due to liberalization of certain sectors; and a general increase in levels of pollution due to economic growth (Kelly, 1991; US Trade Representative, 1995). Environmental advocacy groups in the US were the driving force behind creation of CEC, however, other actors, including politicians, bureaucrats and private sector interest groups, participated in the politics of structural choice to create CEC. The design of this international environmental institution can be traced back to the institutional choices made by these actors. All of these actors sought to influence some of aspects of the institutional design of CEC and advocate for structures consistent with the positive theory of public bureaucracy.
Key Actors in the Politics of Structural Choice for CEC
Interest groups, politicians, and bureaucrats were the principal actors involved in the politics of structural choice for CEC. The negotiations over this institution occurred within the domain of international trade policy, where historically the main actors had been private sector interest groups (e.g. export-oriented producers groups) and politicians (e.g. legislative trade committees, pro-free trade legislators) and bureaucrats (e.g. trade ministries) aligned with these interest groups (Destler and Balint, 2000). The NAFTA was the first time environmental groups gained access to the trade policymaking arena, which in turn resulted in the participation of other politicians (e.g. legislative environment committees, pro-environment legislators) and bureaucrats (e.g. environment ministries) aligned with the environmental groups (see e.g. Audley, 1997). To set the context for the following analysis, the interests of these actors are described further below.
Interest Groups. The environmental groups most directly involved in creation of CEC were a coalition of moderate, mainstream national-level groups in the US that worked closely with a small number of like-minded environmental groups in Mexico and Canada (Hogenboom, 1998; Mayer, 1998). In general, these groups sought to establish an institution that would ensure that increased economic integration under the NAFTA did not come at the expense of the environment as well as increase the transparency and accountability of decision-making for trade-related environmental policy issues (Audley, 1997). Although there were some divergent views between groups in the three countries, in particular over the use of trade sanctions for ensuring enforcement of laws in Mexico, the groups were able to develop consensus positions on many of their structural choices (Hogenboom, 1998; “Letter from Seven NGOs”, 1995). In developing their recommendations, political uncertainty factored heavily into their structural choices (US-N-35; US-N-52). More adversarial environmental groups were generally opposed NAFTA and trade-liberalization, regardless of how green it was and did not advance any detailed structural choices (US-N-50; see e.g. Hogenboom, 1998). See Table 1 for list of environmental groups.
Private sector interest groups represented industries that would benefit from the NAFTA and in general, these groups were uniformly focused on reducing barriers to trade and strongly opposed the creation of new barriers, such as taxes or fees that would be used to cover the costs of environmental protection (CN-G-63; US-P-111; Audley, 1997). Although some of the private sector groups eventually saw the benefits of having an institution to address the environmental effects of trade liberalization, they still considered CEC a political necessity and remained primarily focused on institutional structures that could undermine the benefits of the NAFTA (US-N-35; US-P-111; “Position of USA*NAFTA”, 1995; Hogenboom, 1998).
Bureaucrats. Executive branch agencies conducted the formal negotiations over CEC and each agency brought different expertise and interests to the table that reflected their own organizational mandates and constituencies. The trade agencies, US Trade Representative (USTR), Mexican Secretaría de Comercio y Fomento Industrial (SECOFI), and Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and environment agencies, US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Mexican Secretaria de Desarrollo Urbano y Ecología (SEDUE), and Environment Canada, in particular, had considerable involvement in the design of CEC (CN-G-63; US-G-77). In the US, the Department of State was also involved in the overall design of CEC while the Departments of Treasury, Labor, Justice, and Interior were involved on select issues (US-G-49; US-N-52; US-G-80). In Canada, the ministries of Labor, Finance, and Natural Resources were likewise involved on select issues (CN-G-63).
The trade agencies did not support the creation of a new institution (see e.g. “Environmentalists’ Assessment of NAFTA”, 1992), for them, CEC was merely the price for ensuring passage of the NAFTA (US-G-49; US-G-77; CN-G-63; MX-G-154). As such, these agencies did not have strong preferences for the institutional design of CEC; their primary interest was in creating an institution that would be substantial enough to neutralize the environmental lobby but not so robust that it would jeopardize the passage of the NAFTA (US-G-80; US-G-81). As a matter of general policy, the trade agencies strongly opposed any institutional structures, such as trade sanctions, that would undermine the benefits of the NAFTA (US-G-81; MX-G-154; CN-G-62; “Canada Against Using Trade Sanctions”, 1993). Although these agencies eventually recognized the potential benefits of having a credible environmental institution, they remained focused on structures that might undermine the gains from trade liberalization (US-G-77; CN-G-68).
The environmental agencies generally viewed creation of CEC as an opportunity to advance their domestic environmental objectives and improve environmental management and cooperation at the regional level (US-N-52; US-G-81; CN-G-63). Thus, these agencies had a common interest in developing a credible and functional institution (CN-G-63; US-G-49; US-G-80). There were, however, some fundamental differences between the agencies. Environment Canada and SEDUE opposed institutional structures that could infringe on state sovereignty or be manipulated towards protectionist ends (US-N-52; CN-G-62; MX-G-154); SEDUE was particularly opposed to structures that would allow CEC to second guess national decision-making related to enforcement of domestic laws (MX-G-154; “Baucus Outlines Three-Point NAFTA Plan”, 1993). By contrast, USEPA “tried to push the envelope” (US-G-80) and supported institutional structures that might infringe to some degree on state sovereignty; the USEPA felt that strong supranational institutions could be used as a shaming mechanism to help with enforcement of domestic environmental laws (US-G-81).
The Department of State played a key role in the politics of structural choice over CEC. As a matter of general policy, the Department did not support the establishment of a strong independent international institution (US-G-49; US-G-81). However, because the Department would have to deal with any institution that was created, it supported development of a credible, functional international environmental institution that was consistent with international law (US-G-49; US-G-77). The main concern of natural resource management agencies, the US Department of Interior and Natural Resources Canada, was limiting the authority of CEC to exercise control over natural resource management issues (US-G-126). The finance agencies, the US Department of Treasury and Department of Finance Canada, were focused on the financial implications of CEC, in particular, any obligations that might require payment of fees or monetary damages on behalf of the governments (US-G-49). The US Department of Justice was concerned with maintaining prosecutorial discretion at the federal and subnational levels while sub-national governments in Canada and the US were also concerned about maintaining their prosecutorial discretion and ability to enact laws as well as preventing any increases in federal oversight of state or provincial laws (US-G-80; CN-G-62; US-G-126).
Politicians. Politicians – legislators and heads of state – provided some input during negotiations over CEC; however, legislators played a more prominent role then heads of state, in particular in the US. Most of the legislators did not have strong preferences for the detailed design of CEC; they mostly conveyed the preferences of their core constituents and only a few legislators advanced their own structural choices (US-N-36; US-G-44). US legislators were influential at the macro-level and were concerned primarily with electoral politics (US-N-52; US-G-49; US-G-80). Similarly, in Canada, Members of Parliament primarily conveyed the interests of their constituents, in particular private sector groups who were concerned about preserving the benefits of the NAFTA (CN-G-63; CN-G-65; CN-G-68; “Business Groups Warn Kantor”, 1993). Mexican legislators did not appear to have a major role in the politics of structural choice for CEC. The heads of state played an extremely limited role in the negotiations (Hogenboom, 1998; Mayer, 1998); their influence was at the macro-level and their primary interests were satisfying the demands of the US environmental lobby without jeopardizing passage of the NAFTA.
Structural Choices for CEC
Most of the actors involved in negotiation of CEC supported or sought specific structural choices for the institution; however environmental groups were the principal source of proposals for the institutional design of CEC. These groups defined the broad contours of the institution during the early phases of the negotiations and then fleshed out the details as negotiations progressed in a process of iterative bargaining. Politicians and bureaucrats allied with these environmental groups either provided political support to enable these proposals to gain currency within the political arena or advanced proposals that were often similar to those of the environmental groups. Functioning more in a reactive role, private sector groups and allied politicians and bureaucrats largely responded to and critiqued the proposals advanced by others.
The final institutional design of CEC reflects bargaining between these actors over their respective structural choices. For purposes of discussion, the structural choices are categorized as: bureaucratic organizational structures; organizational mandates; and decision-making authorities and responsibilities. Although these structural choices are discussed separately, they are inherently related to each other because choices about one type of institutional structure are not made in isolation of other structures. Moreover, due to space constraints, the following discusses only the major structural choices for CEC; there are numerous other choices that cover all aspects of CEC that are not discussed but have been examined elsewhere and lend further support for the use of this theory in studying international institutions (Allen, 2005).
Bureaucratic Organizational Structure. The bureaucratic organizational structure of an institution encompasses its hierarchical structure, composition, and location with scheme of government. During the negotiations over CEC, environmental groups, private sector groups, and bureaucrats proposed or supported a variety of bureaucratic structures for CEC, which are further categorized into three main organizational components: oversight body; administrative body; and public advisory body. Although discussed separately below, the institutional choices for these structures were often pursued as a single set of choices by the different actors.
In general, environmental groups sought bureaucratic structures that would have a high degree of “independence” with minimal political oversight (US-P-33; US-N-35; US-G-107; see e.g. Biel, 1993; Hogenboom, 1998) while private sector groups sought structures with limited independence and a high degree of political control and accountability to the governments (US-P-33; see e.g. “Confidential NEC Options Paper”, 1993; “Industry Letter to Kantor”, 1993; “Position of USA*NAFTA”, 1995). Bureaucrats generally sought structures that enabled high political control as well as promoted effective governance.
Oversight Body. The oversight body typically exercises direct authority over the work of an organization and as such some environmental groups initially sought an “independent” oversight body that included nongovernmental along with governmental representatives (US-N-35; US-G-107; “Binational Statement on Environmental Safeguards”, 1992; “Environmental Safeguards for the North American”, 1995). These proposals, however, never received serious consideration by the governments and it became apparent fairly quickly that some form of solely governmental governance would be needed for CEC given the nature of the issues to be addressed by the institution (US-N-35).
In response, the environmental groups advocated for an oversight body comprised of high-ranking officials from environmental agencies (see e.g. Ferretti, 1992; Hudson and Prudencio, 1993) who in principal would be most responsive to their interests (US-N-35). The bureaucrats meanwhile sought an oversight body comprised of high-level political appointees, such as cabinet-level officials (“Confidential NEC Options Paper”, 1993;; ““Mexican Draft Legal Text”, 1993) to ensure political control. As one government negotiator noted, “Ministers, as political appointees or politicians are in positions that are held accountable through the political process ….” (CN-G-63).
The final structure of the oversight body for CEC was a Council of Ministers comprised of cabinet-level officials or equivalents. However, despite the strong preferences of environmental groups, the governments did not specify the particular government agency that would serve as the representative on the Council. This outcome was due to a disagreement between the foreign affairs and environmental agencies, in particular in the U.S, on which agency should serve on the Council (US-G-77; US-G-80; US-G-81). Foreign affairs agencies typically represent countries in international fora and the environmental policy portfolio is split between multiple agencies in each of the countries (US-G-77; US-G-81; CN-G-67). Thus, for both policy and practical reasons, there was a lack of agreement on which agency would sit on the Council and the designation of a particular agency was left to the discretion of each country (US-G-80; US-G-81).
Administrative Body. As it became evident that the oversight body would be comprised of high-level political appointees, the environmental groups sought to heavily weight the administrative and advisory bodies in their favor by advocating for “independent” bodies that would be insulated from political control (US-P-33; US-N-34). Some environmental groups sought a powerful independent secretariat coupled with substantial venues for citizen advisory bodies while other groups sought a conventional secretariat that would provide logistical, administrative, and technical support to a more powerful public advisory body (see e.g. “Elements of an Effective North American”, 1993; “Letter from Seven NGOs”, 1995). Although the environmental groups held somewhat differing views of which bureaucratic component would be most conducive to advancing their policy objectives, the overriding intent of the groups was to establish structures that would be insulated from political interference and pressure as much as possible (US-N-34; US-N-35).
For the environmental groups, the preferred bureaucratic structure for the administrative body was a permanent secretariat at the international level that would be located outside of domestic political arenas and thus “more effective, less subject to political pressure and more capable of growth” (US-N-32; US-N-52; see also “Confidential NEC Options Paper”, 1993). To further minimize political influence, these groups also sought a body staffed by international civil servants with no or a limited number of political appointees (see e.g. “Recommendations for a North American Commission” 1995; Hudson and Prudencio, 1993; “Letter from Seven NGOs”, 1995; “Elements of an Effective North American”, 1993).
The private sector groups did not support the creation of a new bureaucracy, but once it became apparent that an institution would be created, these groups advocated for national-level administrative (and advisory) bodies that would be firmly embedded within the existing domestic bureaucratic and political structures with staff that would be directly accountable to the governments to allow for extensive domestic political control (US-G-77; US-G-80; CN-G-68; see e.g. “Position of USA*NAFTA”, 1995).
Bureaucrats in Canada and Mexico also sought national-level secretariats that would be “easier to control and hold accountable” (US-G-77, also MX-G-99; see also “Mexican Draft Legal Text”, 1993). Canada also sought national-level bodies to facilitate direct coordination between provincial and national governments, which was important given the jurisdictional split in environmental issues in that country. Mexico sought national-level bodies to minimize the size of the bureaucracy overall given its limited resources to fund a new, large international bureaucracy as well as its view that a trilateral institution was not needed because of the existing bilateral mechanisms for environmental cooperation and the very limited number of issues that were truly regional in scope (MX-G-99). By contrast, US agencies advocated for a single, international-level secretariat (“Confidential US Proposal”, 1993) because they felt that an international body would be more functional; according to some US bureaucrats, national-level secretariats might compete with other domestic agencies and warring bureaucracies are less likely to be effective than a single international body (US-G-77).
The final structure of the administrative body was a permanent international secretariat consisting of a professional staff headed by a single executive director, appointed by the Council of Ministers, with a fixed term. Although a permanent secretariat at the international level is typical for many international intergovernmental institutions, this structural choice was chosen due to strong support by environmental groups and US agencies over the preferences of the Mexican and Canadian bureaucrats and private sector groups.
Advisory Bodies. In conjunction with a permanent international secretariat, environmental groups sought a high profile international-level public advisory body comprised of representatives from nongovernmental organizations (US-N-35; see e.g. “Recommendations for a North American Commission”, 1995; “Letter from Seven NGOs”, 1995) that would have some formal, ongoing role in the operation of CEC and serve as a mechanism to monitor and intervene into the work of CEC. The private sector groups preferred national-level advisory bodies with balanced representation (“Position of USA*NAFTA”, 1995). Bureaucrats in the US and Canada had considerable experience with national-level advisory bodies and were willing to establish bodies at that level as long as they had no real authority (CN-G-62; US-G-81). The bureaucrats, however, were skeptical about the effectiveness and functionality of an international-level advisory body (CN-G-62).
The final bureaucratic structure of the advisory bodies was a mandatory trilateral-level advisory body composed of representatives from each country and two optional national-level bodies in each country: one national-level advisory body was comprised of members of the public and the other national-level advisory body comprised of representatives from federal and state/provincial governments. Overall, these advisory bodies were political concessions to the environmental groups; the bureaucrats did not really want them (CN-G-62; CN-G-65; “Environmental Groups Critique”, 1992), but they were non-controversial given that they were structured without any real authority. The national-level bodies, however, were made optional because Mexico did not have similar consultative mechanisms and was reluctant to adopt such mechanisms domestically just for CEC (US-G-77).
Organizational Mandates. The organizational mandates define the content and scope of the work to be undertaken by an institution and the principal mandates proposed for CEC are summarized in Table 2. In general, environmental groups sought a broad range of mandates for CEC as well as specific constraints on each mandate, such as well-defined timeframes for taking action or specific procedures that would limit the intervention by opposition interest groups. Private sector groups sought to minimize the scope of mandates that could potentially undermine the benefits of the NAFTA as well as impose institutional structures that worked against effective implementation of some mandates sought by the environmental groups. The mandates pursued by the bureaucrats largely complemented their own organizational mandates but were sensitive to the sovereignty and constitutional concerns of the governments. Legislators focused on only the most politically salient mandate at the time, improving the enforcement of environmental laws. The politics of structural choice for each mandate is discussed in more detail below.
Enforcement of Environmental Laws. The lack of effective enforcement of environmental laws in Mexico was considered by many environmental groups as the most critical issue to be addressed by CEC (US-N-35; US-G-107; US-G-148). From the onset, the environmental groups sought a mandate for CEC to investigate and report on lax enforcement of environmental laws in the three countries (US-N-52; US-G-107; see e.g. “Elements of an Effective North American”, 1993; “Environmental Safeguards for the North American”, 1995). These proposals also included specific constraints on a complaint process. In general, this mandate would allow environmental groups and other private parties to initiate investigations and provide input into reports; the overall purpose of this mandate was to disclose lax enforcement to public scrutiny (US-P-33). At the same time, the environmental groups also sought a separate dispute resolution process with recourse to sanctions or fines that could be used to address persistent levels of non-enforcement of domestic laws (US-P-33; US-G-107).
A few environmental groups, however, pressed for an enforcement mandate that linked private party complaints to the formal dispute resolution process, which would empower CEC to take some enforcement action directly, such as by imposing sanctions, to ensure compliance (Hudson and Prudencio, 1993; “Recommendations for a North America Commission”, 1995; “Canada Environmental Groups Support US”, 1993; Housman, et al., 1993). This stronger mandate was considered by some environmental groups as undesirable because of its’ potential to infringe upon state sovereignty or be abused by protectionists (US-P-33; US-G-107; see e.g. “Elements of an Effective North American”, 1993;Richardson, 1993a), but it nonetheless dominated the negotiations over CEC and was the most controversial structural choice advanced by the environmentalists (Richardson, 1993b).
The private sector groups realized that a mandate for CEC to address lax enforcement in Mexico was a political imperative but were strongly opposed to any mandate that allowed for the use of sanctions because these could be easily abused as a trade remedy and undermine the gains from the NAFTA ( “Mexican Draft Legal Text”, 1993; “Industry Letter to Kantor”, 1993; “Position of USA*NAFTA”, 1995; Hogenboom , 1998). These groups were also concerned that the mandate would allow for unprecedented “fishing expeditions” that could impose significant costs on many industries (“Business Groups Warn Kantor”, 1993; MX-G-154). To address lax enforcement, private sector groups preferred the use of sunshine or spotlight provisions to expose enforcement practices to public scrutiny coupled with cooperation in technical assistance and training on enforcement of environmental laws (“Position of USA*NAFTA”,1995).
Bureaucrats from all three countries recognized there was a need to improve enforcement in Mexico, but the countries opposed any mandate that might limit state and federal enforcement powers and prosecutorial discretion, by-pass the operation of domestic judicial systems, and/or override constitutional guarantees of due process (US-G-81; “US Nixes Enforcement Role”, 1993; “NEC NAFTA Work Group”, 1993; “Confidential NEC Options Paper”, 1993; Richardson, 1993a). The bureaucrats also did not want to establish a process that would allow private parties to bring suit directly against the governments because such a process would “circumvent existing domestic procedures for private party-to-state disputes or for judicial review of administrative actions of the executive branch” (US-G-77; also US-G-81).
Although the USEPA was more supportive of a strong enforcement mandate, it too realized that the US would have to live with whatever mandate it created (US-G-80; see e.g. “NEC NAFTA Work Group Working Assumptions”, 1993). The Department of the Treasury also opposed any mandate initiated by private parties that could impose financial obligations on the governments (US-G-49). Mexico and Canada strongly opposed any mandate with sanctions that could be easily abused by protectionists in the US and that would have a disproportionate effect on their smaller economies (CN-G-62; US-G-49; US-G-77; “Canada Against Using Trade Sanctions”, 1993; “Trade Sanctions to Enforce”, 1993; Richardson, 1993a). Overall, the consensus amongst the bureaucrats was that a strong mandate on enforcement was not desirable and improving environmental practices in Mexico could best be achieved through a cooperative approach.
A small number of legislators in the US and Canada who actively followed CEC negotiations were focused solely on the mandate to improve lax enforcement in Mexico (see e.g. “Congressman to Press”, 1993; “Republican Senators’ Letter”, 1993; “Democrats Rally Support”, 1993). Legislators that were aligned with private sector groups strongly opposed the use of sanctions and cautioned against inserting too many ‘teeth’ into CEC (see e.g. “Danforth Cautions Kantor”, 1993; “Clinton Urged to Balance”, 1993), while legislators aligned with the environmentalists strongly advocated for the use of sanctions to remedy problems of non-enforcement of laws (see e.g. Baucus, 1995; “Kantor Says Enforcement”, 1993; “Democrats Rally Support”, 1993; Housman, et al., 1993). However, even these legislators recognized that there were important sovereignty and constitutional concerns associated with empowering an international body with sanctioning power and advocated for an institutional structure that was a middle ground:
“The North American Commission on the Environment has been presented as NAFTA’s environmental watchdog ….. It has been described as everything from an annual meeting of environmental ministers to an enforcement agency with the power to close down polluters in any of the three countries. I reject both of these extremes. The first is too weak, relying on toothless evaluations of conditions and pledges ……. [t]he second gives too much power to an appointive body beyond national control …… we need something with teeth, but which recognizes national sensitivities ……. I believe the NACE should be the initial point of consideration for complaints ……. [b]ut enforcement and retaliation should remain with national authorities” (Baucus, 1993).
The final enforcement mandate established for CEC included two separate processes for addressing lax enforcement: a citizen submission process and a state-to-state consultation and dispute resolution process (NAAEC, 1995). The first process grants environmental groups and other private parties standing to submit complaints on lax enforcement and these complaints are validated via a fact-finding process conducted by CEC but these complaints do not trigger any dispute resolution process with recourse to sanctions. The second process establishes a separate dispute resolution process with recourse to fines and sanctions but this process is reserved for use by the three national governments only. By establishing two separate processes, the enforcement mandate encompassed two key structural choices of the environmental groups and legislators – citizen standing to raise enforcement concerns directly and the availability of sanctions to ensure compliance – but without explicitly linking the two institutional structures together (US-N-36).
In general, the citizen submission process was viewed as an important mechanism for increasing the openness and public involvement in environmental matters in Mexico and thus the governments sought to establish a credible process that would not be abused or used for harassment (US-G-80; MX-G-154; US-G-77; US-G-81). By contrast, the dispute resolution process was most contentious aspect of enforcement mandate, opposed by the bureaucrats as well as the private sector groups and allied politicians (US-G-80; US-N-36; US-G-49). As such, the process was intentionally designed to be ineffective, burdened with cumbersome procedures and numerous checks and balances that would allow for political intervention and minimize the likelihood that it would ever be used to impose trade remedies (CN-G-62; US-N-36; US-G-49; see also “Some Environmentalists Fault”, 1993). The Mexican bureaucrats provided considerable input into the design of this process and sought to include as “many restrictions, road blocks, criteria, and the like as possible” to limit the effectiveness and applicability of the process (MX-G-121, also MX-G-133).
Integrating Trade and Environment under the NAFTA. Environmental groups sought a mandate that would allow CEC to participate in the implementation of the NAFTA provisions that had the greatest potential to impact the environment, such as the NAFTA dispute resolution process and committee on technical barriers to trade (US-G-107; see e.g. “Elements of an Effective North American”; 1993; “EDF Announces Support”, 1993; Hudson and Prudencio, 1993; Housman, 1993a; Kelly, 1993; “Recommendations for a North American Commission”, 1995). The mandate would also allow CEC to serve as a point of inquiry on NAFTA trade and environment issues, develop new disciplines on trade and the environment, and investigate related concerns, such as impacts of subsidies for natural resource extraction (Hudson and Prudencio, 1993; “Recommendations for a North American Commission”, 1995; Housman, 1993a; Richardson, 1993c; “Position of USA*NAFTA”, 1995; “Letter from Seven NGOs”, 1995; “Elements of an Effective North American”, 1993). In general, the environmental groups sought a high degree of specificity to constrain the work of CEC under this mandate (see e.g. Hudson and Prudencio, 1993; “Letter from Seven NGOs”, 1993; “Elements of an Effective North American”, 1993).
The private sector groups and all of the bureaucrats, with the exception of Environment Canada, opposed creating a strong role for CEC in the implementation of the NAFTA (US-G-80; US-P-111; MX-G-99). The trade officials in particular did not want CEC to trump the NAFTA Free Trade Commission (FTC) by giving it an extensive role in implementation of the trade agreement (US-G-80; US-P-111; MX-G-154; CN-G-65). Moreover, the USEPA and Department of State did not support strong linkages because they envisioned CEC as a standalone institution that could function independent of the trade and environment context, and thus any mandate for CEC to assist the FTC with the NAFTA should be a minor mandate (US-G-81; MX-P-125; see e.g. Page, 1993).
Given the opposition to creating strong linkages between CEC and FTC, the mandates proposed by the environmental groups for extensive CEC involvement in implementation of the NAFTA “were never really considered feasible” (CN-G-68) because CEC was never “envisioned to be the mechanism to reconcile the trade and environment debate” (US-G-107). Environment Canada was the strongest advocate for institutionalizing linkages between CEC and FTC because it felt that the linkages were needed for future coordination (CN-G-65; “Canada against Using Trade Sanctions”, 1993), but it too acknowledged the mandate would in practice be weak.
The final mandate for integrating trade and environment under the NAFTA created weak linkages between CEC and FTC that are limited in scope, voluntary in nature, and designed to give almost total deference to the FTC. Any assistance provided by CEC to the FTC would be voluntary and depend on the willingness of the FTC to accept the assistance (CN-G-62; see e.g Johnson and Beaulieu, 1996). The FTC retains the responsibility for handling the major trade and environment issues under the NAFTA environment-related provisions. In general, the mandate for coordination between CEC and FTC largely institutionalized an existing interagency process through which environment and trade agencies exchange views (US-G-80).
Independent Monitoring, Fact-Finding, and Reporting. The environmental groups also sought a mandate that would allow CEC to conduct independent and objective assessments on environmental issues that otherwise might not receive attention from the governments but in a manner that could promote corrective action without infringing on sovereignty issues (US-G-77; see e.g. Housman, 1993a; Richardson, 1993a; “Elements of an Effective North American”, 1993; “Letter from Seven NGOs”, 1995). Some environmental groups, however, sought a strong mandate that would require the governments to adhere to the report recommendations within a specified timeframe (see e.g. “Recommendations for a North American Commission”, 1995), and many viewed this mandate as crucial to the acceptability of the institution.
“In order to maximize its credibility, a NACE [CEC] could be given a broad mandate which would include independence of initiation with regard to environmentally-related issues. Independence of initiatory authority is an important issue, not only for the credibility of the NACE among the three governments, but also for its credibility in the eyes of stakeholders in the three countries” (Richardson, 1993c).
Some bureaucrats in the three countries also thought that this mandate was important for the credibility of CEC and in fact, might be useful, allowing CEC to “do something creative” or to examine politically sensitive issues at arms’ length from the governments (CN-G-65; also US-G-77; Kantor, 1993). Other bureaucrats, however, were opposed to such a mandate because independent monitoring and reporting might require considerable resources as well as result in scrutiny of issues that could possibly embarrass the governments (US-G-77; CN-G-65). These bureaucrats as well as sub-national governments were concerned that the mandate would give an administrative body responsible for preparing the reports too much independence.
“The states are concerned that without sufficient political safeguards, investigations by the Secretariat will be of a “hit or miss” nature, and that uncontrolled discretion of the Secretariat will substitute for democratically accountable discretion exercised by the states ……. Thus, the Secretariat should be required to consult with and receive the approval of the Council before undertaking any examination. …….. A report by the Secretariat should not be publicly released until the Council has reviewed the report” (“Governors Urge USTR”, 1993).
Private sector groups and some legislators were concerned about creating a sweeping mandate for CEC to launch investigations against the countries, their political subdivisions, industries, and individual companies with little accountability to the governments (see e.g. “US Chamber Backs”, 1993; “Pro-NAFTA Republicans”, 1993; “Industry Letter to Kantor”, 1993). In particular, industry expressed concerns that the “ .…. vesting of expansive investigatory and reporting powers in the Commission threatens to create a new, politically unaccountable bureaucracy that could effectively preempt local, state, and national enforcement authority and could act irresponsibly” (“Industry Letter to Kantor”, 1993). As such, these actors sought to limit the mandate on fact-finding and reporting such that the Secretariat could “initiate investigations only at the request of, or after approval by, the Council” (“Industry Letter to Kantor”, 1993).
The final mandate for independent monitoring and reporting of environmental issues allows CEC some modest independence in conducting studies but the mandate was structured in the end to give the governments’ considerable control over its implementation. Under this mandate, the Secretariat is authorized to prepare various reports but the Council of Ministers must approve their substantive scope and release (NAAEC, 1995). The mandate for independent reporting was considered one of the major concessions that the governments gave to the environmental groups, due largely to the strong support of some bureaucrats, in particular the USEPA, who believed that such a mandate was needed to increase the credibility of CEC (CN-G-67).
Environmental Cooperation. The environmental groups did not identify voluntary environmental cooperation as a priority mandate for CEC and it received only minor mention, if any at all, within the structural choices advanced by these groups (US-N-35; see e.g. Hudson and Prudencio, 1993; “Recommendations for a North American Commission”, 1995; “Environmental Safeguards for the North American”, 1993). While some groups acknowledged that increased cooperation was desirable, overall they believed that “cooperation was too soft” and would not be “sufficient to cope with existing environmental problems and with new investment under the NAFTA” that were their central concerns (US-N-35; see also “Environmental Safeguards for the North American”, 1995; Snape, 1993). By contrast, the bureaucrats, in particular the environmental agencies, considered environmental cooperation as the most important mandate of CEC and the one most likely to endure over the long-term (CN-G-62; US-G-49; US-G-81; see e.g. “Hills Letter on NAFTA”, 1993). As such, the agencies sought to craft a credible and functional mandate on environmental cooperation (CN-G-63; US-G-80; US-G-107; MX-G-154). The private sector groups also advocated for a cooperation mandate (see e.g. “Position of USA*NAFTA”, 1995; Cohen, 1993), but had very little interest in the actual substance of the mandate. Legislators likewise cared little about environmental cooperation (US-G-80).
The final mandate for CEC on environmental cooperation was intended to be the principal mandate of the institution (US-G-77; US-G-80; US-G-81). Under this mandate, CEC could be considered a standalone institution that operates independent of the NAFTA context, which the bureaucrats believed would offer the greatest potential for achieving national environmental goals (US-G-77). Although many of the actors involved in the design of CEC did not actively seek a mandate for environmental cooperation, there was general consensus and support amongst all actors to establish a credible and functional mandate on environmental cooperation (US-G-77).
Decision-Making Authorities and Responsibilities. Decision-making authorities and responsibilities define which bureaucratic component controls decisions over the implementation of work undertaken by an institution. During negotiations of CEC, the environmental groups sought specific decision-making authorities and responsibilities concurrently with their structural choices for bureaucratic structures and organizational mandates for the institution. Once the groups realized that the oversight body would be comprised of political officials and the advisory bodies would not have any real decision-making authority, the environmental groups focused their efforts on securing a high level of independent decision-making for the administrative body or Secretariat to minimize political interference into its work (see e.g. Biel, 1993).
The bureaucrats, however, with the exception of the USEPA, were opposed to creating a supranational administrative body with the sweeping decision-making powers for implementation of CEC’s work (see e.g. von Moltke, 1993). The USEPA supported some independent decision-making authorities for the Secretariat to increase the credibility or functionality of CEC (see e.g. “Canadian, US Proposals at Odds”, 1993), but the other US agencies, as well as bureaucrats in Canada and Mexico sought an administrative body with minimal decision-making authorities. Sub-national governments, some legislators, and private sector groups also opposed a Secretariat with independent decision-making authorities (see e.g. “NAFTA Negotiators Make”, 1993; “Pro-NAFTA Republicans, Leadership”, 1993; “Position of USA*NAFTA”, 1995).
In the end, the Council, which is comprised of political appointees, was given most of the decision-making authority for CEC while the Secretariat has a limited amount of independent decision-making authority. However, for almost all of the Secretariat’s decision-making authorities, the Council exercises a final decision over the corresponding Secretariat action (NAAEC, 1995). The final structure of the decision-making authorities and responsibilities was intended to ensure accountability while providing the Secretariat with limited independent decision-making in areas where such decision-making was seen as being useful, but not extensive enough to infringe on state sovereignty (Charnovitz, 1994). In general, the decision-making authorities reflect the bureaucrats’ intent to retain political control over CEC in its function as an intergovernmental forum.
With respect to the decision-making rules for the Council itself, all three countries sought a consensus-based voting system; Mexico because it was concerned that the other two countries would always vote against it and the US and Canada because consensus voting is widely used in international fora (CN-G-65; CN-G-68; US-G-77). Although environmental groups proposed that the operative voting norm for CEC be majority voting (Housman, 1993a), consensus decision-making is the default for the majority of the decisions taken by the Council; majority voting was stipulated in a few instances where a consensus might force one county to vote against its national interests (CN-G-68; US-G-77).
Much debate and research within the field of international relations is concerned with the relevance of international institutions, and recent research examines on how and why institutions are designed as they are. Research documented herein builds on prior research by examining the institutional choice processes associated with creating one particular international institution, CEC, using a rationalist theory of domestic politics, in particular the positive theory of public bureaucracies. The use of this theory to study an international institution differs significantly from past research efforts, which have historically relied on international relations theories. The theory of public bureaucracies provides a potentially powerful framework for understanding the institutional choices advanced by the different actors involved in the creation of an institution and how these choices give rise to a particular institutional design.
Overall, the institutional choices for bureaucratic organizational structure, organizational mandates, and decision-making authorities advanced by politicians, interest groups, and bureaucrats for the design of CEC are consistent with the theory of public bureaucracies. As the analysis illustrated, each actor sought or supported specific institutional features that were driven by their preference for the content and direction of policy that would emerge out of the institution. The institutional choices were strategic choices crafted to minimize uncertainty over future institutional outcomes as well as to ensure to control over subsequent behavior of the institution while seeking to achieve particular policy goals within a particular political arena. The final design of the institution, however, reflected not only these strategic choices, but also the compromises between the actors as they pursued their interests in a process referred to as the “politics of structural choice”. The final design “was very much a committee product” (US-G-77), reflecting a “mix of stakeholders and their interests” (CN-G-62).
Environmental groups consistently sought structures that would insulate CEC as much as possible from future political interference along with constraints on mandates to ensure that their policy preferences would be carried out. Private sector groups generally sought structural choices to ensure there was a high degree of political control over CEC or structures that would inhibit effective implementation of some environmental groups’ desired mandates, such as the state-to-state dispute resolution process. Bureaucrats, although not monolithic, generally sought to design a functional institution that would be responsive to the governments and allow for effective governance and general policy control in those areas that were consistent with their interests while ensuring accountability to a democratic process. Legislators and heads of state were involved in the politics of structural choice mostly at the macro-level, and although they did not have strong preferences for most structural choices for CEC, they generally sought structures to achieve their larger electoral or policy goals.
Although most of the structural choices proposed for CEC were consistent with the theory of public bureaucracies, there were a few inconsistencies. First, not all of the structural choices predicted by the theory were sought by the actors involved, which may be due to inherent differences between the contexts in which international institutions and domestic public bureaucracies emerge and operate. Second, political actors from within a given category (for example environmental interest groups) had some divergent views and structural choices, which highlights that the general categories of political actors considered in this theory are not always monolithic.
Lastly, some institutional structures, such as the environmental cooperation mandate of CEC, were not heavily contested by the political actors involved in design of CEC. According to the theory of public bureaucracies, all structures of an institution will be contested, but this contention applies to the structure of domestic regulatory agencies, which by their nature generate “winners” and “losers”. For non-regulatory structures or institutions, the politics of structural choice may not involve opposing structural choices and political actors may seek to design an institution that is functional and credible based on technical rationality.
In light of these inconsistencies, some adjustments to the theoretical framework, such as the roles and preferences of some political actors, the types of structures sought by different actors, the heterogeneity of the different political actors, and the fact that not all institutional structures will be contested in the politics of structural choice, may needed to strengthen the applicability of the framework to study international institutions. Notwithstanding these potential adjustments, the positive theory of public bureaucracies offers a potentially powerful framework for analyzing international institutions. The research findings demonstrate that rationalists’ theories of domestic politics can be translated to the international level and be used to study international institutions. Rather than looking at the states unitary actors, the framework allows for more detailed examination of its constituent parts and their competing interests to understand the institutional choices that states make in designing an international institution.
- Within the field of international relations, there are three terms that are closely related and used interchangeably: international institutions, international regimes, and international organizations (Hasenclever, et al., 1997). Regimes or institutions refer to persistent and connected sets of rules and practices that prescribe behavioral roles, constrain activity, and shape expectations (Keohane, et al., 1993). International organizations generally refer to some formal bureaucratic structure (see e.g. Haggard and Simmons, 1987; Young, 1989), however many institutions or regimes often have an associated organizational structure, so organizations are a part of an institution or regime. For purposes of this research, the term “institutions” is broadly conceived to include a bureaucratic organizational structure associated with a set of rules, practices, and strategies.
- The identities of all interviewees will remain confidential. When interviewees are cited, the following classification system is used: country in which the interviewee is employed (CN = Canada, MX = Mexico, US = United States), organizational affiliation (G = government, N = nongovernmental organization, P = private sector, A = academia, and O = other), and interview number; example of interview classification: MX-G-118.
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