Category: Publication

  • Open Access Article Published in Global Studies Quarterly

    The July 2022 edition of ISA’s new open access journal Global Studies Quarterly features our article “When Do International Organizations Engage in Agency Slack? A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of United Nations Institutions” (with Eugénia Heldt, Anna Novoselova, and Omar Ramon Serrano Oswald). The article is based on research from our German Research Foundation project on “International Bureaucracies and Agency Slack” under DFG project number 370183851. Our study examines 16 UN organizations and the organizational characteristics under which agency slack occurs at these IOs, based on a qualitative coding of primary documents from the UN Joint Inspection Unit.

    Abstract: The extensive delegation of power to international organizations (IOs) has been accompanied by occasional agency slack. While prior studies suggest that IOs’ propensity for agency slack may be rooted in their organizational characteristics, this has rarely been explored empirically. To address this lacuna, in this article we propose a conceptualization and measurement of agency slack and develop a framework of organizational characteristics. Our empirical analysis applies qualitative comparative analysis to assess the conditions under which agency slack occurs across sixteen United Nations institutions. We complement the cross-case analysis with two case illustrations. Our results document the empirical existence of two paths to agency slack, providing confirmatory evidence for our theoretical expectations. Path 1 combines staffing rules that are favorable for the agent with wide access to third parties. Path 2 entails the combination of favorable staffing rules with extensive delegation of authority and a vague organizational mandate.

  • Incentives and Constraints – Corrigendum

    The European Political Science Review issued a correction for the article “Incentives and Constraints: A Configurational Explanation of European Involvement in the Anti-Daesh Coalition“, originally published on February 24, 2022. The original publication contained erroneous illustrations. The correct versions of Table 1, Table 3, Table 4, and Table 5 are entailed in the corrigendum.

  • Open Access Article Published in Contemporary Security Policy

    Contemporary Security Policy published our open access article “The Unintended Consequences of UN Sanctions: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis” (with Katharina L. Meissner, Centre for European Integration Research, University of Vienna). The article examines the flip-side to sanctions, namely their unintended consequences. Empirically, we draw on data from the Targeted Sanctions Consortium to conduct a set-theoretic analysis. We complement the QCA part with case illustrations on Haiti and North Korea.

    Abstract: Sanctions are widely used foreign policy tools in reaction to crises in world politics. Accordingly, literature on sanction effectiveness—their intended consequences—is abundant. Yet, fewer studies address the unintended consequences of restrictive measures. This is remarkable given that negative externalities are well documented. Our article explores this phenomenon by asking under which conditions sanctions yield negative externalities. We develop a theoretical conceptualization and explanatory framework for studying the unintended consequences of UN sanctions. Empirically, we draw on data from the rich, but scarcely used Targeted Sanctions Consortium and apply qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to examine negative externalities of UN sanctions, complemented by illustrations from the cases Haiti and North Korea. The results document the existence of multiple pathways toward unintended consequences, highlighting the negative impact of comprehensive and long-lasting sanctions, as well as the ability of autocratic targets with economic means to persist unscathed from sanctions.

  • YouTube Book Summary

    The COMPASSS Network made some material from the last QCA Expert Workshop at ETH Zurich available on YouTube. This includes a 20-minute summary and some Q&A on my book Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application (Georgetown UP, 2021). This part starts in minute 12 of the recorded session (see the video link below).

  • Open Access Article Published in Global Policy

    Persistence Against the Odds: How Entrepreneurial Agents Helped the UN Joint Inspection Unit to Prevail

    Global Policy published an open access article that draws on research from our DFG project on “International Bureaucracies and Agency Slack” (with Eugénia da Conceição-Heldt, Anna Novoselova, and Omar Ramon Serrano Oswald). The article “Persistence Against the Odds: How Entrepreneurial Agents Helped the UN Joint Inspection Unit to Prevail” draws on delegation theory and historical institutionalism to examine how and why the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) persisted despite witnessing several existential challenges to its survival.

    We thank current and former inspectors and officials of the United Nations System who were exceedingly generous with their time and resources. The interviews conducted were essential to the research for this article. We also acknowledge the generous support of the German Research Foundation under DFG project number 370183851. Open access funding was enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

    Abstract: Since its inception in 1966, the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) has prevailed in the face of significant existential challenges. Against this backdrop, we investigate how and why the JIU persisted over time. Combining delegation and historical institutionalist approaches, we posit that entrepreneurial agents and layering processes together help us better understand persistence of inter-national organizations. Based on semi-structured interviews with UN staff and JIU inspectors, we examine three critical junctures in the history of the JIU. Our results show that entrepreneurial agents and stakeholders in the JIU managed to avoid the closure or demotion of the JIU by engaging in a strategy of institutional layering. Our analysis, however, also demonstrates that the JIU survived at the price of losing its privilege as the central UN oversight body. These findings have implications for the study of international organizations and for the reform of the UN system at large.

  • Open Access Article Published in International Studies Review

    QCA in International Relations: A Review of Strengths, Pitfalls, and Empirical Applications

    International Studies Review published our open access article “QCA in International Relations: A Review of Strengths, Pitfalls, and Empirical Applications” (with Tobias Ide, Murdoch University, Perth). This is the first comprehensive review of QCA applications in International Relations (IR), covering empirical studies published between 1987 and 2020. The article discusses strengths and limitations of QCA and develops concise recommendations on how to improve QCA research in IR.

    Abstract: Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) is a rapidly emerging method in the field of International Relations (IR). This raises questions about the strengths and pitfalls of QCA in IR research, established good practices, how IR performs against those standards, and which areas require further attention. After a general introduction to the method, we address these questions based on a review of all empirical QCA studies published in IR journals between 1987 and 2020. Results show that QCA has been employed on a wide range of issue areas and is most common in the study of peace and conflict, global environmental politics, foreign policy, and compliance with international regulations. The utilization of QCA offers IR scholars four distinct advantages: the identification of complex causal patterns, the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions, a middle ground between quantitative and qualitative approaches, and the reinforcement of the strengths of other methods. We find that albeit a few exceptions, IR researchers conduct high-quality QCA research when compared against established standards. However, the field should urgently pay more attention to three issues: the potential of using QCA in combination with other methods, increasing the robustness of QCA results, and strengthening research transparency in QCA applications. Throughout the article, we formulate strategies for improved QCA research in IR.

  • Article Published in European Political Science Review

    Incentives and Constraints: A Configurational Account of European Involvement in the anti-Daesh Coalition

    The European Political Science Review (Cambridge University Press) published my article “Incentives and Constraints: A Configurational Account of European Involvement in the anti-Daesh Coalition“. Supplementary material to the set-theoretic analysis, including the results of robustness tests, can be accessed here.

    Abstract: In 2014, the USA initiated the formation of a multilateral military operation against Daesh in Syria and Iraq. Eventually, more than 70 states joined the anti-Daesh coalition. However,contributions to the military effort have been characterized by great variance, especially among EU member states. While some states took leading roles in the airstrikes, others provided training for Iraqi and Kurdish forces, and still others did not get involved beyond voicing their support for the policy. Against this backdrop, this article makes a two-fold contribution to the literature on military coalitions and security policy. Empirically, the article provides a mapping of the then 28 EU member states’ military engagement in the fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq. Analytically, fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) is applied to account for the observed pattern of military involvement, using an integrative framework that combines international and domestic factors. The results demonstrate that multiple paths led towards EU military involvement in the anti-Daesh coalition. At the same time, international level incentives, such as external threat and/or alliance value feature prominently in all three identified paths. The analysis further underscores the value of a configurational perspective, because neither an external threat nor alliance value are sufficient on their own to bring about the outcome. Across the set-theoretic configurations, these conditions either combine with other ‘push’ factors or with the absence of constraints against military involvement. In line with the latter, the article highlights the policy relevance of institutional constraints, especially legislative veto rights, since most of those countries that were involved in the airstrikes of the anti-Daesh coalition did not have formal parliamentary involvement on matters of military deployment policy.

    Corrigendum: The published article contains erroneous illustrations. A correction notice will be published on the EPSR website. Meanwhile, a correct preprint version of the article can be accessed here.

  • Parliamentary debates and decision-making on Afghanistan

    The January 2022 issue of Orient: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Politik, Wirtschaft und Kultur des Orients/ German Journal for Politics, Economics and Culture of the Middle East features my article on “German Parliamentary Debates and Decision-Making on Afghanistan”. The piece reviews German engagement in Afghanistan with a focus on parliamentary involvement. The article can be accessed here.

    Abstract: The fall of Kabul in August 2021 marked the end of 20 years of German civilian and military engagement in Afghanistan. Over this time, more than 90,000 Bundeswehr soldiers were deployed in Afghanistan, 59 of whom died there. At a cost of about EUR 12.3 bn, the engagement in the Afghanistan missions amounted to the largest and most costly military operation in the history of the Bundeswehr. This contribution reflects upon parliamentary involvement throughout this period, placing emphasis on the initial political decisions and turning points of the Afghanistan engagement.

  • QCA Book Published with Georgetown University Press

    Georgetown University Press has just published my QCA textbook Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application. Following an ideal-typical research cycle, the book’s ten chapters cover the methodological basis and analytical routine of QCA, as well as matters of research design, causation and causal complexity, and QCA variants. A comprehensive glossary helps to clarify frequently used terms. The book is complemented by an accessible online R manual to help new users practice QCA’s analytical steps on sample data and then implement those steps with their own findings. The book further contains boxes by other authors from across the social sciences, who are reflecting on their own QCA applications and their use of specific variants of the method. For more information, reviews, and online material, please click the button below.

  • Foreign Policy Change in Europe

    Foreign Policy Change in Europe

    Palgrave just published the edited volume Foreign Policy Change in Europe Since 1991, co-edited by Jeroen Joly (Saint-Louis University Brussels) and Tim Haesebrouck (Ghent University). The book analyzes foreign policy change and continuity across 11 European countries throughout the past three decades. I contributed a chapter on German Foreign Policy to the volume.

    Many thanks to the editors for inviting me to contribute to this project!