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Problem perception and public expectations in international institutions: Evidence from a German representative survey

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  • Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias
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    Abstract

    Much of what can be subsumed under the label of political cosmopolitanism argues that some internationalization of political authority is desirable because of the superior capability of international institutions in solving transnational problems. Surprisingly, however, few scholars have asked whether ordinary citizens share this way of thinking. To address this question, falsifiable hypotheses about the quality and scope conditions of such a public political cosmopolitanism are derived from the literature and tested using the results of a representative survey of German citizens. I show that there is significant support for what I call the interdependence model of cosmopolitan politicization: German citizens' perception of transnational interdependencies (in terms of functional sensitivity as well as moral commitments) fosters beliefs in the capability of international institutions to solve problems. This model has significant explanatory power over different levels of education, and thus disproves a common claim that cognitive mobilization is a crucial scope condition of cosmopolitan politicization. Remarkably, however, the relationships specified by the interdependence model are only marginally moderated by German citizens' sense of their own vulnerability, i.e. their beliefs that the national government is incapable of solving such problems. -- Viele Arbeiten zum politischen Kosmopolitismus begründen ihre Präferenz für starke internationale Institutionen mit deren Fähigkeit transnationale Probleme besser zu lösen. Überraschender Weise hat die Frage bislang kaum wissenschaftliche Aufmerksamkeit erfahren inwiefern die Bürger ähnlich denken. Das Papier leitet Thesen zu Struktur und Bedingungen eines solchen öffentlichen politischen Kosmopolitismus ab und testet sie mit Hilfe einer Repräsentativumfrage deutscher Bürger. Es wird gezeigt, dass deren Einstellungen tatsächlich einem Interdependenzmodell kosmopolitisischer Politisierung folgen. Die Wahrnehmung transnationaler Interdependenz (sowohl im Sinne funktionaler wie auch moralischer Bindungen) fördert Überzeugungen, dass internationale Institutionen in der Lage sind daraus resultierende Probleme zu lösen. Das Interdependenzmodell zeigt auch über verschiedene Bildungsniveaus ein hohes Maß an Erklärungskraft und widerspricht damit der herrschenden Lehrmeinung, der zufolge kognitive Mobilisierung eine kritische Bedingung für kosmopolitischer Politisierung darstellt. Bemerkenswerter Weise, sind die im Interdependenzmodell spezifizierten Zusammenhänge zudem kaum von variierenden Graden subjektiver Vulnerabilität abhängig, d.h. der Wahrnehmung mangelnder Problemlösungsfähigkeit des Nationalstaats.

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    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Global Governance with number SP IV 2010-302.

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    Date of creation: 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbtci:spiv2010302

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    1. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J., 2006. "Learning to Love Globalization: Education and Individual Attitudes Toward International Trade," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(02), pages 469-498, April.
    2. Held, David, 1997. "Democracy and globalization," MPIfG Working Paper 97/5, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    3. Baldwin, David A., 1980. "Interdependence and power: a conceptual analysis," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(04), pages 471-506, September.
    4. Kapstein, Ethan B., 2000. "Winners and Losers in the Global Economy," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 359-384, March.
    5. Eichenberg, Richard C. & Dalton, Russell J., 1993. "Europeans and the European Community: the dynamics of public support for European integration," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(04), pages 507-534, September.
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