The Capacity of International Institutions: A Conceptual Framework for Empirical Analysis

  • Michal Parízek
Keywords: International institutions, international organizations, effectiveness, robustness, institutional capacity, performance


This paper aims to develop a simple, rigorous, and generally applicable analytical framework for investigation of the ability of international institutions to shape the political contestation among actors in international politics. To achieve this end, it discusses the key conceptual problems of the existing notions of the functioning of international institutions and offers steps to address these problems. It partially reformulates and formalizes the currently used concepts of effectiveness and robustness of institutions and builds upon them the concept of institutional capacity, which captures the quality of the institutions’ work in a more complex and analytically rigorous manner. Subsequently, the paper discusses how the concept of institutional capacity can be applied to the study of the political systems of international organizations and presents a list of 24 criteria that are suitable for assessments of their functioning.

Author Biography

Michal Parízek