Transnationalism Bibliography

  • Cutler, A. (1999). Locating 'Authority' in the Global Political Economy. International Studies Quarterly, 43-1 (Mar.), 59-81.
    Keyword(s): Economy, Global Political Economy

Question(s) addressed by the author and working arguments

The authors seek to address the organizational insecurity, competitive pressures and fiscal uncertainty that characterize the transnational sector. All these affect many aspects of International Organizations (IOs) and International Nogovernmental Organizations (ONGs) in ways that diverge from the liberal common sense of a robust civil society assumed to rest upon shared liberal norms and values that motivates ONGs and IOs actions. The authors argue that many aspects of IO and INGO behavior can be explained by materialist analysis and an examination of the incentives and constraints produced by the transnational sectors institutional environment; and advance two theoretical propositions:

i) The growing numbers of IOs and INGOs within a given transnational sector increases uncertainty, competition and insecurity for all organizations in that sector. This proposition disputes the liberal view that INGO proliferation is, in and of itself, evidence of a robust global civil society

ii) They suggest that the marketization of many IO and INGO activities – particularly the use of competitive tenders and renewable contracting – generates incentives that produce dysfunctional outcomes. This claim disputes the popular assumption that market based institutions in the transnational sector increase INGO efficiency and effectiveness

3) Conceptual references to transnational-transnationalism

transnational actors, transnational action

Conclusions or Final Remarks

Relying on insights from New Economics of Organization, a body of theory that examines the incentives generated by market institutions and contractual relations, the authors uncovered a tacit system of material constraints that shaped INGO actions and, on occasion, subverted nominal agendas. Focusing on the diverse world of transnational aid, they found that across the board, competitive environments create institutions that not only systematically shape the behavior of donors, INGO contractors and recipients but also inhibit cooperation. In brief, When placed in competitive market like settings, nonprofit groups are likely to behave like their for-profit counterparts, and dysfunctional organizational behavior of the IOs and INGOs is likely to be a rational response to systematic and predictable institutional pressures. The transnational world should be analyzed with tools drawn of political economy.