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How can we account for the global diffusion of remarkably similar policy innovations across widely differing nation-states? In an era characterized by heightened globalization and increasingly radical state restructuring, this question has become especially acute. Scholars of international relations offer a number of theoretical explanations for the cross-national convergence of ideas, institutions, and interests. We examine the proliferation of state bureaucracies for gender mainstreaming. These organizations seek to integrate a gender-equality perspective across all areas of government policy. Although they so far have received scant attention outside of feminist policy circles, these mainstreaming bureaucracies—now in place in over 100 countries—represent a powerful challenge to business-as-usual politics and policymaking. As a policy innovation, the speed with which these institutional mechanisms have been adopted by the majority of national governments is unprecedented. We argue that transnational networks composed largely of nonstate actors (notably women's international nongovernmental organizations and the United Nations) have been the primary forces driving the diffusion of gender mainstreaming. In an event history analysis of 157 nation-states from 1975 to 1998, we assess how various national and transnational factors have affected the timing and the type of the institutional changes these states have made. Our findings support the claim that the diffusion of gender-mainstreaming mechanisms has been facilitated by the role played by transnational networks, in particular by the transnational feminist movement. Further, they suggest a major shift in the nature and the locus of global politics and national policymaking.
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... Among them, the studies on e-government development account for the largest portion of empirical e-government research. public managers who attend international conferences will create meaningful ties among states through which the ideas about, information on, and managerial practices of, e-government flow (Williams 2002;True and Mintrom 2001;Greenhill 2015;Yi, Berry, and Chen 2018;Yi and Chen 2019). ...
... Previous studies have argued that intergovernmental organizations have created and maintained arenas for public sector innovation (Pal and Spence 2020;Sahlin-Andersson 2001;Greenhill 2020;True and Mintrom 2001;Lee et al. 2011). Intergovernmental organizations serve as a platform for hosting conferences and meetings where public managers discern policy and public administration problems and facilitate the dissemination of experiences, knowledge, and norms related to these issues (Greenhill 2015;Pal and Spence 2020;Sahlin-Andersson 2001). ...
... The concept of boundary spanners informs our expectation that public managers who attend international conferences can create communication channels among states (Yi and Chen 2019;Yi et al. 2018;Greenhill 2015;True and Mintrom 2001;Williams 2002). Boundary spanners are individuals who mediate information and knowledge transfer between external and internal actors. ...
... This has been the case in particular for citizenship policies, according to the literature (Newell and Tussie 2006). Transnational actors have been of chief importance in diffusing policy on gender mainstreaming x across countries (True and Mintrom 2001;Franceschet 2003). When issues are as international as poverty reduction, the international donor community significantly affects the type and strength of actor networks. ...
... The number of actors should not be isolated from the effectiveness of those actors. The effectiveness of women's organizations is said to be related to the density of networks in multiple sites and levels (True and Mintrom 2001). In some types of policy issues, effectiveness has to do with coordination. ...
Technical Report
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MOTIVATION The importance of governance in promoting development outcomes has become increasingly recognized over the last two decades. For instance, it is understood that many of the states least likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are ‗fragile‘ states grappling with significant governance challenges, and that tackling poverty and social exclusion cannot be done in isolation from addressing governance deficits. Attention among analysts and donors is growing, yet the assessment of evidence-based policy processes is limited. This is in turn exacerbated by a relative dearth of literature on the knowledge-policy interface in developing country contexts, and especially post-conflict countries. This paper therefore focuses on exploring the role of knowledge in advancing effective governance principles and practices. It pays articular attention to the opportunities and challenges faced by think tanks and policy institutes to shape an evidence-based political culture in post-conflict environments. APPROACH AND REPORT ORGANIZATION The report is based on a desk review of literature on governance and evidence-based policy processes, including think tanks as key actors in the process of knowledge generation and translation. A multi-layered approach to the topic is developed in response to the lack of literature on evidence-based policy processes in post-conflict contexts. The report begins with a survey of literature on the role of think tanks in the production and use of governance evidence, identifying main trends and emphasizing findings related to post-conflict settings (section 2). It then introduces an analytical framework designed to explore similarities and differences in the dynamics of research supply and demand across policy sectors (section 3). This framework is applied specifically to the dynamics of governance evidence, looking at the governance issues of public administration reforms, decentralization and human rights (section 4). Finally, the report summarizes the main lessons and proposes areas for further investigation (section 5). This report is complemented by a companion synthesis paper about the production, translation and uptake of knowledge in three diverse post-conflict settings of Nepal, Peru and Serbia.
... Norms are crucial because they educate states about appropriate behaviour in any given circumstance, explaining why actors behave in ways that are not explained by rationalist theories or contradict them. Furthermore, the existence of international norms explains how governments with disparate interests come up with identical policy goals when there is no clear demand or necessity on the part of the state (True and Mintrom 2001). This explains how national interests develop in states and refutes solely materialist theories of state behaviour in the international system. ...
... First, according to a constructivist approach, following a logic of appropriateness, the membership in IOs may socialise regimes into certain norms. That is, the membership and involvement in IOs can have a similar influence as that of peer groups, like countries with a shared colonial background or of experts, or advocates such as NGOs (Checkel 2005;Simmons, Dobbin, and Garrett 2006;True and Mintrom 2001). Indeed, previous research on NHRIs has emphasised the role of IOs, especially the UN and its bodies (Cardenas 2003). ...
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National human rights institutions (NHRIs) have important roles to play for the protection, promotion, and monitoring of human rights. These institutions are set up by governments that have a special role in upholding human rights but at the same time violate these rights. This book tells a story of the choices that governments have made when it comes to establishing and changing their NHRIs and how these choices affect the ability of the institutions to be effective and to fulfil their roles. The book argues that while previous research has emphasised the homogeneity of NHRIs, these institutions vary considerably in their type, design, and strength – and, at least partly as a consequence, in their capacity to hold actors to account for violations and transgressions. While some institutions have been designed to be little more than lapdogs, firmly controlled by the government, others have been designed, and proven to function, as true watchdogs, holding governments to account for their actions. Drawing on an ambitious mixed-methods research design, using quantitative methods to describe and explain the establishment and change of NHRIs and qualitative methods to trace how the design of NHRIs matters for their effectiveness, the dissertation makes three main contributions. First, theoretically, it presents a new conceptualisation on NHRIs, their design, and their strength. Second, it studies institutions that have rarely been studied and thereby makes an empirical contribution through both a descriptive and explanatory analysis using a new dataset on the design of 88 institutions in all African countries, from 1960 to 2014, and in-depth case studies on the NHRIs in Namibia and South Africa. Finally, the study presents a methodologically innovative approach to the research on NHRIs, especially in Africa, in its careful combination of quantitative techniques, used to describe and explain the variation within and among institutions, and qualitative techniques, used to trace how design matters for effectiveness. The dissertation presents three principal sets of findings. First, it finds that practically all countries have come to have an NHRI, with many having two (or even more) institutions. These institutions, however, have differed in terms of type, design, and, as a result, strength, even if institutions tend to be increasingly strong already when established. The analysis indicates that ties to other countries, whether in the shape of membership in international organisations (IO) or diffusion from other countries, may affect the establishment of NHRIs. Second, it finds that NHRIs are far from static as most see their design change, typically in ways that makes them more independent and more authoritative. Diffusion, official development assistance, and the respect for human rights are linked to regimes having stronger NHRIs, while IO membership see the opposite relationship. Such membership, however, is linked to a higher propensity to change institutions. Finally, the study finds that the variation in the design of institutions matters for their effectiveness, but that it often interacts with other factors, such as regime type. These findings have implications for both research and policy, for instance for the study of politicisation and backlash of both human rights in general and for NHRIs specifically.
Human trafficking is an imminent problem not limited to certain regions of the globe. Although the problem of human trafficking is severe over the world, Sub-Saharan African countries are some of the most vulnerable to human trafficking. Despite the severity of human trafficking in Sub-Saharan Africa, only 23 countries, less than half of Sub-Saharan African countries, have introduced domestic statutory laws addressing human trafficking. Why do some African countries adopt laws for combating human trafficking, while others do not? Focusing on the role of gender-related factors in the introduction of laws addressing human trafficking, this article aims to fill this academic lacuna by conducting time-series cross-national analysis on 49 African countries from 1960 to 2016. The empirical results from this study demonstrate that increases in the percentage of women in legislative branches and in women’s participation in civil society organizations lead countries to introduce anti-human trafficking laws.
The research objective of this article is to analyze the European Parliament’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of feminist governance. Feminist governance can either play a role in ensuring the inclusion of a gender perspective in crisis responses, or, quite the opposite, crises may weaken or sideline feminist governance. The empirical analysis focuses on two aspects of feminist governance: (1) a dedicated gender equality body and (2) gender mainstreaming. In addition to assessing the effectiveness of feminist governance, the analysis sheds light on the political struggles behind the policy positions. The article argues that feminist governance in the European Parliament was successful in inserting a gender perspective into the COVID-19 response. The article pinpoints the effects of the achievements of the European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee and gender mainstreaming on gendering the pandemic crisis response.
This article considers whether quota or parity laws designed to improve the representation of women in plurinominal elections have a spillover effect to uninominal elections. It tests empirically the effects of quota and parity legislations implemented in Ecuador for plurinominal elections on the proportion of women elected as mayors. Based on an unpublished database, our results show that, after the implementation of such legislation, the probability of a woman being elected as mayor almost doubles (ceteris paribus). We also find evidence that a possible causal chain effect of the documented spillover effects is the increasing importance of female role models, motivated by institutional changes shaped by the new legislation. Este artículo analiza si las leyes de cuotas o de paridad, elaboradas para mejorar la representación de mujeres en elecciones plurinominales, surten el efecto “derrame” sobre las elecciones uninominales. Para probar esta propuesta, recurrimos al análisis de los efectos de las leyes de cuotas y paridad implementadas en Ecuador para elecciones de legisladores (plurinominales) en la proporción de alcaldesas electas. Usando una base de datos inédita, nuestros resultados demuestran que, después de la implementación de la ley de paridad, las probabilidades de que una mujer sea elegida alcaldesa prácticamente se duplican (ceteris paribus). El artículo también encuentra evidencia de que una posible cadena causal que justifica la idea del efecto “derrame” es el incremento de modelos a seguir femeninos, creados por los cambios institucionales derivados de la nueva legislación. 本文衡量了多代表选举中用于提升女性代表比例的配额或平等选举法是否对单一代表选举产生溢出效应。本文从实证上检验了厄瓜多尔多代表选举执行的配额法及平等选举法对女性市长比例产生的效应。通过使用一项未发表的数据库,我们的研究结果显示,在执行这类法律后,女性被选为市长的概率几乎增加了一倍(其他条件不变的情况下)。我们还发现证据证明,溢出效应可能的因果链是不断增加的女性模范重要性,后者由新法律制定的制度变革所驱动。
The 1990s have seen the emergence of a new 'constructivist' approach to international theory and analysis. This article is concerned with the relationship between constructivism and critical international theory, broadly defined. Contrary to the claims of several prominent critical theorists of the Third Debate, we argue that constructivism has its intellectual roots in critical social theory, and that the constructivist project of conceptual elaboration and empirical analysis need not violate the principal epistemological, methodological or normative tenets of critical international theory. Furthermore, we contend that constructivism can make a vital contribution to the development of critical international theory, offering crucial insights into the sociology of moral community in world politics. The advent of constructivism should thus be seen as a positive development, one that not only enables critical theorists to mount a more powerful challenge to the dominant rationalist theories, but one that also promises to advance critical international theory itself.
The constructivist study of norms faces two central challenges-reintegrating agency into its largely structural accounts and unpacking its arguments at the national level. This article addresses these issues, and does so in four parts. First, I briefly review the burgeoning constructivist literature, exploring the ontological and theoretical reasons for its neglect of agency. Second, by adding social content to the concept of diffusion, the transmission mechanism linking international norms to domestic change, I explain the motivation of domestic actors to accept new normative prescriptions, thus making a start at restoring agency to constructivist accounts. Third, I argue these key actors will vary cross-nationally as a function of state-society relations ('domestic structure'). Fourth, the argument is applied to the politics of national identity in post-Cold War Europe. In particular, I examine the degree to which international norms are affecting debates over citizenship and national minorities in contemporary Germany, with empirical data drawn from the European human rights regime centered on the Council of Europe.
Whether the state and the bureaucracy can be viable arenas for promoting improvements in the condition of women's lives is an especially pressing question for Latin American feminism today. Until recent years, feminists in the region completely dismissed state-centered political strategies and pressure-group tactics. Indeed, during the two decades when military authoritarianism reigned supreme in South America, the state was most often viewed as women's worst enemy. At the rhetorical level authoritarian rulers extolled the virtues of motherhood and traditional womanhood. Yet in reality their policies brought about dramatic changes in women's social, economic, and political roles and, ultimately, in their consciousness as women. Regressive economic policies pushed millions of women into low-paying, low-status jobs in the least progressive, most exploitive sectors of the economy. Authoritarian development policies undermined working-class survival strategies, propelling hundreds of thousands of women to seek solutions to their families' needs by participating in the community self-help organizations and grassroots social movements that blossomed throughout Latin America in the 1970s. And the repressive social policies and exclusionary politics characteristic of bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes also drew women of all social classes in unprecedented numbers into the swelling ranks of the political opposition to military rule.1 These rapid changes in women's roles helped spark a second wave of the women's movement in South America. Working-class feminine groups and middle-class feminist organizations could be found throughout the region by the late 1970s.2 And by the early 1980s women's groups had mobilized hundreds of thousands of women in protest of the detrimental effects of authoritarian development on women's lives and lives of all politically excluded social groups and classes. Originally, most women's groups, like other opposition organizations in civil society, engaged exclusively in the politics of protest and in promoting grassroots survival efforts. But as authoritarianism began to crumble in the late 1970s and the military ushered in "political liberalization" schemes of various types and durations, women's movement activists began making gender-based claims on the state and political society. The return of civilian rule and political efforts to consolidate precarious democracies in South America in the 1980s now pose new challenges for feminist theory and practice in the region.3 The opposition political parties who courted the female electorate and appealed to organized female constituencies during the final stages of the transition to democracy are now in power. As newly established democratic regimes "seek to legitimize themselves through public policy and participation-based accountability" (Staudt, in Chapter 1), feminist claims have perilously made their way into male-dominant policy-making arenas. In some countries, such as Brazil, the new civilian regimes have endorsed such historic feminist demands as safe, accessible, noncoercive family planning, publicly financed day care, and equal pay for equal work and have established new government "machineries" for the promotion of gender equity. Brazilian feminists are confronted with a new conjuncture in gender politics.4 The state, heretofore widely perceived to be women's worst enemy, is suddenly portraying itself as women's best friend.