Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Institutionalized cooperation, Intergovernmental Organizations, European Union, United States, Canada, International Labour Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, Neoliberal Institutionalism, Institutionalism, Institutional Development, Organizational Change, Neofunctionalism

Major Advisor

Jennifer Sterling-Folker

Associate Advisor

Elizabeth Crump Hanson

Associate Advisor

Mark Boyer

Field of Study

Political science


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Since the 1990s, three important Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), the International Monetary Fund (IMF, established 1945), the International Labour Organization (ILO, established 1919), and the World Trade Organization (WTO, established 1995), have become more important in shaping the international policy of the liberal international order (defined as IGOs, rules, and principles of the international economic order to regulate trade, finance, and labor established by the Western economies following the Second World War). I wanted to discern the factors and processes that led to the increasing importance of IGOs in setting international policy and maintaining the liberal economic order, and, in particular, “embedded liberalism,” in the last 25 years following the end of the Cold War. It is important for the discipline to understand the factors and processes that promote the institutionalization of cooperation, the demand for institutions, and the institutional change/development of IGOs. Therefore, I develop a theoretical conceptual framework of Modified Neoliberal Institutionalist Theory that builds on the theories of NLI, modified neofunctionalism, and institutionalism. I use comparative case studies of the influence of the EU, United States, and Canada in setting policy (ILO, IMF, WTO) to track institutionalized cooperation and organizational development. IGOs have undergone organizational and policy reforms that have increased their impact on international policy. The institutionalized cooperation among the United States, the European Union, and Canada has facilitated the construction of new organizational capabilities and policies to protect the liberal international economic order that had come under threat from the global economic crisis that started in 2008. These IGOs have undergone evolutionary institutional and organizational change. The institutionalization of cooperation and the reform of IGOs are partially driven by rising levels of transnational exchange that produces demand for IGOs, IGO rules, and dispute resolution. Institutional and organizational change is likely to be evolutionary rather revolutionary, as dramatic change is more difficult to achieve as actors interests and loyalty change slowly. Therefore, the institutional, policy, and organizational change of the IGOs is likely to be path-dependent as these changes occur slowly rather than quickly and dramatically.

Available for download on Monday, December 13, 2027