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International organizations establishing their scientific authority: Periodizing the legitimation of policy advice by the OECD

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Abstract

This article contributes to the periodization of ‘scientization’ by scrutinizing how international organizations (IOs) have evolved into such scientific authorities as many of them are today. The authors examine the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and its Economic Surveys during the period 1965–2015. The study sheds light on how scientific authority manifests in IOs’ reporting and policy recommendations directed at national governments. First, the analysis scrutinizes how science figures rhetorically in reports. Secondly, it focuses on policy recommendations and their connection to the scientific content of these reports. The results show that although the reports were portrayed as ‘scientific’ already in the 1960s, in the 2000s the reporting clearly shifted from the language of economics towards more popularized consulting language. The authors argue that these changes are due to the OECD’s reactions to transformations in the wider institutional environment and occasioned by its endeavours to appear as a significant actor in knowledge-based policymaking.

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APA

Rautalin, M., Syväterä, J., & Vento, E. (2021). International organizations establishing their scientific authority: Periodizing the legitimation of policy advice by the OECD. International Sociology, 36(1), 3–24. https://doi.org/10.1177/0268580920947871

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