23 Jan

Parliaments in Security Policy

BJPIR Special Issue – Parliaments in Security Policy: Involvement, Politicisation, and Influence

The British Journal of Politics and International Relations (BJPIR) has published a Special Issue, guest edited by Patrick A. Mello and Dirk Peters: “Parliaments in Security Policy: Involvement, Politicisation, and Influence”.

The special issue focuses on the pivotal democratic institution – parliament – to study legislative involvement in security matters and its effects on policy outcomes. The  contributing articles employ a diverse set of theoretical perspectives and methods to explore the role of 11 different parliamentary bodies from a broad range of contemporary Western democracies.

BJPIR is a peer reviewed journal of the Political Studies Association of the UK with an Impact Factor of 1.423 (2016) and Rankings of 62/165 in Political Science and 24/86 in International Relations [More Information].

Abstract: “While parliaments have long been neglected actors in the analysis of security policy, a research literature on the subject is growing. Current research is focused primarily on how parliaments, relying on formal legal competences, can constrain governmental policies. However, this research needs expansion in three areas. First, informal sources of parliamentary influence on security policy deserve more systematic attention as the significance of parliaments often hinges on contextual factors and individual decision-makers. Second, we still lack a systematic understanding of the effects of parliamentary involvement on security policy. Finally, the role of parliaments for the politics of security is almost completely uncharted territory. When parliaments become involved in security policy, does it foster transparency and contribute to the politicisation of security policy so that security policy becomes a ‘normal’ political issue? The article reviews current research, derives findings from the contributions to this Special Issue, and spells out their wider implications.” [Read Further]

Introduction to the Special Issue:

Mello, Patrick A., and Dirk Peters (2018) ‘Parliaments in Security Policy: Involvement, Politicisation, and Influence’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745684.

Contributing Articles (in alphabetical order):

Hegemann, Hendrik (2018) ‘Towards ‘Normal’ Politics? Security, Parliaments and the Politicisation of Intelligence Oversight in the German Bundestag’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745683.

Kaarbo, Juliet (2018) ‘Prime Minister Leadership Style and the Role of Parliament in Security Policy’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745679.

Kriner, Douglas L. (2018) ‘Congress, Public Opinion, and an Informal Constraint on the Commander-in-Chief’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745860.

Lagassé, Philippe, and Patrick A. Mello (2018) ‘The Unintended Consequences of Parliamentary Involvement: Elite Collusion and Afghanistan Deployments in Canada and Germany’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745681.

Oktay, Sibel (2018) ‘Chamber of Opportunities: Legislative Politics and Coalition Security Policy’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745680.

Raunio, Tapio (2018) ‘Parliament as an Arena for Politicization: The Finnish Eduskunta and Crisis Management Operations’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745682.

Rosén, Guri, and Kolja Raube (2018) ‘Influence Beyond Formal Powers: The Parliamentarisation of European Union Security Policy’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117747105.

Schade, Daniel (2018) ‘Limiting or Liberating? The Influence of Parliaments on Military Deployments in Multinational Settings’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117746918.

Strong, James (2018) ‘The War Powers of the British Parliament: What Has Been Established and What Remains Unclear?’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745767.

Wagner, Wolfgang (2018) ‘Is There a Parliamentary Peace? Parliamentary Veto Power and Military Interventions from Kosovo to Daesh’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148117745859.


14 Jan

Foreign Policy Analysis

Joining the Editorial Board of Foreign Policy Analysis

I am honored to be joining the Editorial Board of Foreign Policy Analysis, led by Editor-in-Chief Cameron G. Thies and Associate Editors Klaus Brummer, Juliet Kaarbo, Brian Lai, Deborah Welch Larson, and Arlene B. Tickner.

I look forward to meeting everyone at ISA San Francisco (Editorial Board Meeting: April 4, 4:30 PM, Parlor 1-4278, Hilton San Francisco Union Square).

“Reflecting the diverse, comparative and multidisciplinary nature of the field, Foreign Policy Analysis provides an open forum for research publication that enhances the communication of concepts and ideas across theoretical, methodological, geographical and disciplinary boundaries. By emphasizing accessibility of content for scholars of all perspectives and approaches in the editorial and review process, Foreign Policy Analysis serves as a source for efforts at theoretical and methodological integration and deepening the conceptual debates throughout this rich and complex academic research tradition. Foreign policy analysis, as a field of study, is characterized by its actor-specific focus. The underlying, often implicit argument is that the source of international politics and change in international politics is human beings, acting individually or in groups. In the simplest terms, foreign policy analysis is the study of the process, effects, causes or outputs of foreign policy decision-making in either a comparative or case-specific manner.” [Read More]

For the current issue of Foreign Policy Analysis, see here.

Reproduced with permission from cover image. Foreign Policy Analysis is published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association. All rights reserved. Available online at: https://academic.oup.com/fpa. For permissions contact Journals.permissions@OUP.com.
28 Nov

Organizational Structure and Agency Slack

German Research Foundation (DFG) Funds Multi-Method Research Project on Organizational Structure and Agency Slack

New DFG Project “International Bureaucracies as ‘Runaway Agents’? How Organizational Structure Affects Agency Slack”, Principal Investigator: Eugénia da Conceição-Heldt (TU Munich), 2018-2021

Project Summary: “Over the past decades states have delegated extensive decision-making authority to the administrative bodies of international organizations. These international bureaucracies are setting agendas, participate in decision-making processes, implement policy programs, represent states in international organizations, create new regulatory agencies, and even settle disputes among states. Their gradual process of empowerment has been accompanied by an increase in oversight mechanisms, as member states, in some cases, considered that international bureaucracies had undertaken actions contrary to their intentions and overstepped their mandates (agency slack). Accordingly, international bureaucracies are sometimes portrayed as “runaway agents” that escaped the control of their principals (member states). This prompts a key question for research on international bureaucracies in global governance: under what conditions do secretariats of international organizations engage in agency slack – deviating from their mandate and acting in a way unintended by their principals?

To address this question, this project takes a Multi-Method Research approach that is suited to test and further develop principal-agent theory. We employ fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis and fuzzy-set ideal type analysis for a systematic cross-case comparison and, subsequently, process-tracing for an in-depth study of selected international bureaucracies, each of which are analyzed for specific policies. We test our theoretical expectations on 27 international bureaucracies, where we gather data on four organizational characteristics: fragmentation, staffing rules, buffering, and permeability. The chosen approach will allow us to investigate necessary and sufficient conditions for the occurrence of agency slack, to identify underlying causal mechanisms, and to assess the plausibility of alternative explanations. The insights gained from the project will enable us to map different patterns of agency slack and explain under which organizational structures international bureaucracies act against their principals’ preferences. Showing how organizational structure matters by comparing different international bureaucracies will enrich principal-agent theory and help us bridge the gap between theoretical considerations and empirical work in the field.” [More Information] [DFG Gepris]

19 Nov

Contemporary Security Policy

Joining the Editorial Board of Contemporary Security Policy

I’m honored and excited to be joining the Editorial Board of Contemporary Security Policy, as recently announced by CSP Editor-in-Chief Hylke Dijkstra.

“One of the oldest peer reviewed journals in international conflict and security, Contemporary Security Policy promotes theoretically-based research on policy problems of armed conflict, intervention and conflict resolution. Since it first appeared in 1980, CSP has established its unique place as a meeting ground for research at the nexus of theory and policy.” [Read More]

Follow this link to see the current issue of CSP.


08 Oct

Sektionstagung Internationale Beziehungen

5th Convention of the International Relations Section of the German Political Science Association (DVPW)

At the IB-Sektionstagung, I co-organized a panel on QCA in International Relations (with Nina Guérin). I also presented  my chapter “Qualitative Comparative Analysis and the Study of Non-State Actors” from the Routledge volume Researching Non-State Actors in International Security: Theory & Practice (edited by Andreas Kruck and Andrea Schneiker).

Moreover, I was elected Co-Speaker of the Foreign and Security Policy Group for the 2017-2020 term (with Klaus Brummer, Sandra Destradi, and Gordon Friedrichs). Information on the group’s activities can be found here. To sign for the group’s mailing list follow this link.

Qualitative Comparative Analysis in den Internationalen Beziehungen

Neue Methoden der Analyse nichtstaatlicher Akteure

Themengruppe Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik

27 Sep

Interim Professor at the Brandt School

Covering for the Franz Haniel Chair for Public Policy

In the Winter Term 2017/18,  I will be Interim Franz Haniel Professor for Public Policy at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt.

During this time, I will be on leave at the Bavarian School of Public Policy at the Technical University of Munich [see contact details].

Founded in 2002 “as Germany’s first professional school of public policy, the Brandt School incorporates the vision of its name patron that the world is fundamentally interconnected and interdependent, that local solutions require global understanding, and that responsible policy-making means to boldly think outside of the box” [Read More]

I look forward to an exciting Winter Term!

23 Sep

ISA San Francisco 2018 Program Announced

59th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, 4-7 April 2018, San Francisco

The ISA has announced its program for the 2018 convention. I’m excited to be involved with papers in two panels. The first panel on parliaments and security policy includes papers that are part of a forthcoming special issue of the British Journal of Politics and International Relations (co-edited with Dirk Peters). The other panel focuses on the politics of multinational military operations:

Parliaments in Foreign Policy Analysis

The Politics of Multinational Military Operations

I’m also taking part in a methods café and a roundtable, and serving as discussant for one session of the Junior Scholar Symposium. The methods café is an ISA Innovative Panel that brings together scholars that represent diverse methods and approaches in foreign policy analysis (co-organized with Falk Ostermann). The methods café format provides an informal setting where participants can meet panelists at separate tables to discuss methods-related questions. The roundtable sponsored by the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States looks into US-Canadian relations after the first year of the Trump Administration (organized by Carolyn C. James).

Methods Café: Foreign Policy Analysis - Methods and Approaches

US Foreign Policy and Canada After the Elections: First Year Review

The Changing Politics of Foreign Policy

See the full ISA 2018 program here.

06 Sep

ECPR General Conference, Oslo 2017

Panel P050: “Closed and Coopted? Parliamentary
Oversight when Security is at Stake”

Paper: “The Unintended Consequences of
Parliamentary War Powers: A Comparative
Analysis of Canada and Germany” (with Philippe Lagassé)

Abstract: This paper argues that there is a need to question whether parliamentary war powers actually lead to the intended effects of increased democratic deliberation and responsiveness. We compare the unintended consequences of parliamentary votes on the use of force in two ‘most-different cases’: Canada and Germany. Despite substantive differences in the formal war powers of their parliaments, we find that military deployment votes on Afghanistan led to less democratic deliberation and responsiveness. Applying rationalist institutionalism, we argue that the deployment votes incentivized major parties to collude together to lessen debate on the Afghan mission, despite increasing public opposition and media attention. Rather than enhancing deliberation and responsiveness, as assumed by proponents of greater parliamentary war powers, these parliamentary votes effectively diminished the willingness of parties to debate the mission.

A PDF of the conference program can be accessed here. [More Information]

27 Jul

ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques 2017

Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Fuzzy Sets

Patrick A. Mello (Week 1), Carsten Q. Schneider (Week 2), and Nena Oana (Teaching Assistant)

Methods Course taught for the European Consortium for Political Research at Central European University, Budapest, 27 July – 7 August 2017

Course Outline:This course introduces participants to set-theoretic methods and their application in the social sciences with a focus on Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The introductory course is complemented by an advanced course that is taught at the ECPR Winter School in Bamberg. The course starts out by familiarizing students with the basic concepts of the underlying methodological perspective, among them the central notions of necessity and sufficiency, formal logic and Boolean algebra. From there, we move to the logic and analysis of truth tables and discuss the most important problems that emerge when this analytical tool is used for exploring social science data. Right from the beginning, students will be exposed to performing set-theoretic analyses with the relevant R software packages. When discussing set-theoretic methods, in-class debates will engage on broad, general comparative social research issues, such as case selection principles, concept formation, questions of data aggregation and the treatment of causally relevant notions of time. Examples are drawn from published applications in the social sciences. Participants are encouraged to bring their own raw data for in-class exercises and assignments, if available [Read Further]

10 Jul

Two-Level Games in Foreign Policy Analysis

Chapter Published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics

da Conceição-Heldt, Eugénia and Patrick A. Mello (2017) Two-Level Games in Foreign Policy Analysis, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press (DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.496).

Article Summary: Whether in multilateral negotiations or bilateral meetings, government leaders regularly engage in “two-level games” played simultaneously at the domestic and the international level. From the two-level-games perspective, executives are seen as “chief negotiators” that are involved in some form of international negotiations for which they ultimately need to gain domestic approval at the ratification stage. This ratification requirement provides the critical link between the international and domestic level but it can be based on formal voting requirements (for instance, mandatory legislative approval in a certain policy area) or more informal ways of ratification such as measures of public opinion and public approval ratings.

With its focus on government leaders as “gatekeepers” and central actors in international negotiations, the two-level games perspective constitutes a distinct approach in foreign policy analysis and serves to reintegrate the subfields of comparative politics and international relations. While there are similarities to a liberal perspective, two-level games emphasize that executives hold a certain degree of autonomy in their decision-making, which cannot be purely derived from their constituencies. Unlike realism, however, the approach recognizes the importance of domestic veto players and institutional constraints. Since its inception in the late 1980s, a vast literature on two-level games has evolved including refinements of its theoretical foundation and applications in various policy areas. Against this background, this essay engages with key controversies in two-level games and foreign policy analysis throughout the last three decades. The discussion is organized along six debates concerning the levels of analysis, domestic political institutions, the interaction between the domestic and international level, relevant actors, their interests and preferences, and the relationship between comparative politics and international relations. The essay concludes with some thoughts on possible future research agendas [Read Further]

Keywords: bargaining, domestic politics, two-level games, interests, levels of analysis, negotiation analysis, ratification, veto players, win sets

da Conceição-Heldt, Eugénia and Patrick A. Mello (2017) Two-Level Games in Foreign Policy Analysis, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press (DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.496).