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Bernhard Zangl: "Power Shifts and Institutional Change in International Institutions"

Political Sciences, LMU

Academic Year 2018/2019

Shifts in the international distribution of power create an impetus for institutional change. As powers such as China rise and powers such as the US decline, international institutions come under pressure to adapt to new power realities. Yet, the pathways to institutional adaptation vary considerably. What is more, sometimes attempts of institutional adaptation are successful and sometimes they fail.

Bernhard Zangl's project therefore asks: what are the conditions under which different pathways to institutional adaptation are chosen, and what are the pathway-specific conditions for the success or failure of institutional adaptation? The project initial proposition is that differences in power shifts translate into differences in pathways to institutional adaptation. Depending on whether power shifts involve revisionist or reformist powers and depending on whether power shifts imply hard or soft power, the resulting pathways to institutional adaptation will take the shape of power bargaining, strategic co-optation or strategic persuasion, which in turn feature specific conditions for the success or failure of institutional adaptation. Taking this "power shift proposition" as a starting point, the project seeks to develop a "theory of institutional adaptation" which will be assessed in case studies on institutional (non-)adaptation to international power shifts.


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