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Staff growth in international organizations: A principal-agent problem? An empirical analysis

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Author Info

  • Roland Vaubel

    ()

  • Axel Dreher

    ()

  • Uğurlu Soylu

    ()

Abstract

The analysis covers 27 international organizations in the years 1950- 2001. From the first to the last year, staff increased at a compound average rate of 3.2 percent per annum. Since the number of member states rose by only 2.5 percent, the elasticity of staff to member states is larger than one (1.28). As this may be due to an expansion of tasks, we estimate time-series regressions and panel-data regressions which contain output proxies or task dummies wherever possible. The pooled analysis of 817 observations reveals that (i) the elasticity of staff to membership is much larger than unity (1.36) if, and only if, the non- stationary component of staff size is not removed, (ii) United Nations organizations have significantly more staff, (iii) international organizations in the United States and Switzerland have significantly less staff, (iv) heterogeneity in terms of per capita income limits the size of an international organization and that (v) its staff is larger if its membership comprises many industrial or communist countries. In a reduced sample, the financing share of the largest contributor in combination with the party or programmatic orientation of its government has a significantly negative effect on staff because the size of the largest financing share determines the incentive to monitor. U.S. exit from an international organization reduces its staff significantly. Most of these results depend on the condition that the non-stationary component of staff size is not taken account of by time dummies or trends.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-007-9188-3
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 133 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 275-295

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:133:y:2007:i:3:p:275-295

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

Related research

Keywords: International organizations; Bureaucracy; Principal-agent problem; Membership size; Partisan policies; F 02;

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References

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  1. Roland Vaubel, 1986. "A public choice approach to international organization," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 39-57, January.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Ludger Schuknecht, 2001. "What Does the European Union Do?," NBER Working Papers 8647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Axel Dreher, 2004. "The Influence of IMF Programs on the Re-election of Debtor Governments," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 53-76, 03.
  4. Przeworski, Adam & Vreeland, James Raymond, 2000. "The effect of IMF programs on economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 385-421, August.
  5. Frey, Bruno S., 1984. "The public choice view of international political economy," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(01), pages 199-223, December.
  6. Lake, David A., 1996. "Anarchy, hierarchy, and the variety of international relations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(01), pages 1-33, December.
  7. Vaubel, Roland, 1994. " The Political Economy of Centralization and the European Community," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 81(1-2), pages 151-90, October.
  8. Pollack, Mark A., 1997. "Delegation, agency, and agenda setting in the European Community," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(01), pages 99-134, December.
  9. Axel Dreher, 2003. "The influence of elections on IMF programme interruptions," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(6), pages 101-120.
  10. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2006. "Reply to Gordon Tullock," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 47-48, March.
  11. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  12. Streit, Manfred E. & Voigt, Stefan, 1996. "Toward ever closer union--or ever larger? Or both? Entry to the European Union from the perspective of constitutional economics," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 385-388, September.
  13. Barnett, Michael N. & Finnemore, Martha, 1999. "The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of International Organizations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(04), pages 699-732, September.
  14. Nielson, Daniel L. & Tierney, Michael J., 2003. "Delegation to International Organizations: Agency Theory and World Bank Environmental Reform," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(02), pages 241-276, March.
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