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Ideology and International Institutions$
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Erik Voeten

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780691207322

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691207322.001.0001

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Ideology and Theories of International Institutions

Ideology and Theories of International Institutions

(p.41) Chapter Three Ideology and Theories of International Institutions
Ideology and International Institutions

Erik Voeten

Princeton University Press

This chapter explains how the book's theoretical framework contrasts with and complements existing theories of international institutions. It discusses four families of theories: functionalism, rational institutionalism, liberal internationalism, and constructivism. These theoretical frameworks yield meaningful insights about important aspects of the post-World War II multilateral order. Yet they can be enriched by conceptualizing multilateralism in terms of cooperation and competition in a low-dimensional ideological space. Functionalists and their intellectual descendants understand institutionalization as an incremental process driven by interdependencies and the spillover effects from previous institutionalization. Rational institutionalists argue that states delegate authority to international institutions in order to solve strategic problems that prevent states from reaping collective gains. Liberal internationalist theorists argue that the post-World War II multilateral order reflects the values and priorities of the United States. Finally, constructivists have long emphasized the ideational foundations of multilateral institutions. However, they have focused on norms, culture, and identities rather than ideology as the basis for doing so.

Keywords:   international institutions, functionalism, rational institutionalism, liberal internationalism, constructivism, multilateralism, ideology, institutionalization, multilateral institutions

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