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Budgeting in International Organisations: What Role for Administrations? (abstract only)

Paper accepted for the ECPR Joint Sessions, Warsaw 2015.

Managing the budgetary timescape of intergovernmental organisations: What role for the administration?

Klaus H. Goetz and Ronny Patz

Managing their budget is a central feature of intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) as actors in their own right. A look into an IGO’s “engine room“ thus will remain incomplete if we do not understand its budgeting. A core political and administrative exercise and defining organisational process, the coordination of budget procedures usually concerns actors on all levels and across all divisions of the organisation, making budgeting it a perfect case for a comparative understanding IGOs as a whole and the role of their permanent bureaucracies.
With budgeting being an inherently temporal process, we apply the concept of “budgetary timescape“ to compare a range of different IGOs. A core hypothesis deriving from this conceptual framework is that budgetary time rules of an IGO, understood first as the level and detail of institutionalized budgeting timeline(s) and second as the formalized time horizons of the IGO’s budget, affect the temporal practices in coordinating budgeting inside the IGO’s bureaucracy, but that that this effect is mediated by general organisational features such as horizontal and vertical differentiation of the IGO's main administrative bodies and by external pressures on the finances of the organization.
Applying this framework to a first case - budgeting of the European Union, we will discuss our empirical findings based on the analysis of a large amount of internal administrative documents and a series of elite interviews with EU officials involved in EU budget procedures to. In the light of the experiences made in studying EU budgeting, will then outline our strategy in applying the framework to other IGOs such as the United Nations or its specialized agencies, showing in how far this concept supports a structured and comparative analysis of temporal aspects of budgeting in IGOs.