International bureaucracies and their influence on policy-making: a review of empirical evidence
Although we find considerable literature on international organizations and their bureaucratic interior, there has been little effort to systematically synthesize empirical research across the different academic disciplines examining how international bureaucracies affect policy-making at an international level. This contribution reviews existing research on the policy influence of international bureaucracies published during the past 50 years. Applying a keyword-based search strategy allows us to identify a core body of 83 books and articles. We find a general consensus in the literature that international bureaucrats do influence policy-making, though this influence varies with the political salience and scope of the decision at question. Yet there is still much disagreement about other context factors, including mechanisms and behavioural assumptions. The contribution advances the state of the art by extracting major disputes – mostly linked to diverging disciplinary perspectives – and existing gaps in the literature, and by suggesting areas for future research.