Project Project
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Supranationalization and Politicization


Subject Matter

This project tests empirically the hypothesis that the delegation of authority to supranational organizations and the pursuant loss of national competencies leads to politicization of the respective organization. Further, we test the competing hypothesis that an increasing degree of politicization over time is a consequence of societal modernization.

The analysis is undertaken on the basis of comparative case studies in the issue area of international taxation. First, we compare the dispute over “Domestic International Sales Corporations“ (DISC) within GATT, which took place during the 1970s and 1980s in an intergovernmental setting, with the WTO dispute over “Foreign Sales Corporations“ (FSC), which occurred in the 1990s and 2000s in a supranational setting. An additional case upon which we draw is the OECD’s “Project on Harmful Tax Practices,” relying on intergovernmental modes of coordination, which began in the late 1990s and is still ongoing. This case selection allows us to test the hypotheses by examining supranational and intergovernmental decision processes and, at the same time, contrasting the developments over time.

The study will be carried out by performing content analysis of newspaper articles from the quality press. As an indicator for the degree of politicization we use the frequency of different qualitatively derived argumentative figures in the articles.

Relationship to the Research Unit’s Program

This project relates to hypothesis 2 of TKI’s research program, which states that institutional transformation (trans- and supranationalization) results in societal politicization.


Rixen, Thomas and Zangl, Bernhard: Die Politisierung internationaler Wirtschaftsinstitutionen: GATT, WTO und OECD im Vergleich. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the German Political Science Association (DVPW), Kiel, Germany, 21-25 September 2009.