My research engages with questions about the emergence and consequences of institutions, a term understood broadly, in the international realm. I am interested in understanding how, why and when actors create new or change existing institutions in order to address problems that cross international borders, and whether, how and when these institutions shape cooperative outcomes. Theoretically, I take a particular interest in sociological approaches that conceive of strategic action as historically and socially embedded, and in diffusion approaches that comprehend decisionmaking as interdependent across units of analysis. My substantive interest concerns international governmental organizations, especially of the regional type. I also take an interest in the foreign policy of the European Union. My work is mainly comparative in scope, and I employ both qualitative and quantitative methods. 

In my current research, I analyze

I am currently working on two large research projects.

1. Legitimation Strategies of Regional Organizations (LegRO)

The Leibniz Association is funding a five-year Junior Research Group on "Sources and Consequences of Legitimation Strategies of Regional Organizations" (LegRO) at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg.

The Research Group seeks to map and explain the sources and consequences of legitimation strategies in regional organizations over time. It studies (1) how state representatives and regional organization bureaucrats justify an organization’s right to rule to relevant internal and external audiences; (2) why such discursive legitimation strategies may change over time and vary across organizations; and (3) whether and how they are related to institutional legitimation strategies. The Group’s research agenda consists of a quantitative component that aims to map and explain basic patterns in the discursive and institutional legitimation strategies of 29 regional organizations worldwide in the period from 1980 to 2019 and several qualitative components that seek to identify the causal mechanisms and political dynamics of legitimation and delegitimation in regional organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.


2. The Authority of International Organizations and Institutional Overlap

This project examines the relationship between the institutional authority of international organizations (IOs) and the dynamics of institutional overlap by asking two questions: What are the implications of differences in IO authority for institutional overlap? And given conditions of institutional overlap, which IO characteristics lead to more or less authority?

In cooperation with Yoram Haftel (Hebrew University Jerusalem), these questions are approached through quantitative analyses and case studies of overlap among international/regional organizations in Africa.

This project is funded by the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony's Research Cooperation Lower Saxony - Israel grant.

» The two PIs, March 2019, Hannover (JPG, 2.68 Mb)