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Exploring the Population of International Parliamentary Institutions

Andrea Cofelice
Dicembre 2015 

The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, I will explore how the literature has so far dealt with international parliamentary institutions (IPIs) in empirical and comparative terms. In this domain, two aspects have been traditionally considered: the historical evolution of IPIs as well as their definition and categorisation. Consequently, section 1 describes the origin and subsequent development (over time and space) of these institutions, trying to identify possible “waves” in their historical evolution and the way how each of these waves is determined by different processes and demands arising in the context of international relations. Section 2 critically analyses IPIs definitions and categorisations proposed by four authors: Klebes (1989), Cutler (2001), Sabic (2008) and Kissling (2011). Some of the considered concepts, however, risk to be too broad and to encompass several different types under the same label, thus hindering standardised comparisons. In order to overcome this unresolved aspects in the literature, in section 3 I will propose a different categorisation of IPIs, to detect, prima facie, how different categories are coupled by distinct functions and powers. This analysis is a necessary preliminary step to move forward the research on IPIs. Indeed, it paves the way for a more in depth analysis in the future, by identifying a rather homogeneous group of institutions that, at least in potential terms, might be able to exert the set of functions that mirror the traditional core competences exercised by legislatures at the national level (namely representation, control over the executive and policy-making).

Andrea Cofelice is Research Fellow at the Centre for Studies on Federalism
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