- Spillovers and Contestations in International Governance: Addressing the Problems of Democracy, Accountability, and Legitimacy in International Organizations
- SAIS Review of International Affairs
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 28, Number 2, Summer-Fall 2008
- pp. 141-153
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Actors ranging from activists and scholars to policy-makers and politicians claim that many international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), suffer from a democratic deficit, lack of accountability, and illegitimacy. This article argues that these contestations have increased because of rising interdependence and the constrained structure of international governance. High interdependence generates policy spillover effects, but international organizations—arranged in discrete policy domains—lack the ability to make tradeoffs necessary to contain the spillovers. Popular mobilization against these organizations results when actors adversely affected by the spillovers are left out of the policymaking process. Based on this explanation of the phenomena, the article generates several policy options that the United States can pursue to restore stability and effectiveness to the international governance system.