From Competition to Division of Labor: Complexity and Dynamics in the Interplay of International Institutions


The international system is composed of a multitude of institutions which overlap frequently in their competences, but are not embedded in a centralized order. Contrary to nation-states and to the European Union (EU), the international system lacks an integrative institutional framework within which norm conflicts among functionally overlapping international institutions can be mediated and solved. Against that backdrop, it is a much discussed question whether institutional complexity is strengthening or weakening inter-state cooperation. In this theory-building book, I show that the tendency to develop an inter-institutional division of labor is inherent in functionally overlapping international institutions. To do so, I connect the actor-centered micro-perspective of ‚Forum-Shopping‘ to the systemic macro-perspective of social orders. In other words: I offer an institutionalist theory which explains the emergence of inter-institutional order among functionally overlapping international institutions. In doing so, I object those who argue that functionally overlap inevitably weakens international institutions.   


The book will appear with Campus in the book series ‘Transformations of the State’.

Further information is available here: