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COVID‐19 and Policy Responses by International Organizations: Crisis of Liberal International Order or Window of Opportunity?

Maria Josepha Debre and Hylke Dijkstra

Global Policy, 2021, vol. 12, issue 4, 443-454

Abstract: The liberal international order is being challenged and international organizations (IOs) are a main target of contestation. COVID‐19 seems to exacerbate the situation with many states pursuing domestic strategies at the expense of multilateral cooperation. At the same time, IOs have traditionally benefited from cross‐border crises. This article analyzes the policy responses of IOs to the exogenous COVID‐19 shock by asking why some IOs use this crisis as an opportunity to expand their scope and policy instruments? It provides a cross‐sectional analysis using original data on the responses of 75 IOs to COVID‐19 during the first wave between March and June 2020. It finds that the bureaucratic capacity of IOs is significant when it comes to using the crisis as an opportunity. It also finds some evidence that the number of COVID‐19 cases among the member states affects policy responses and that general purpose IOs have benefited more.

Date: 2021
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