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Tobias Lenz

TobiasLenzMax Weber/GGP Fellow

Georg-August University of Göttingen




Biographical Note

Tobias Lenz is a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute. He is currently on leave from the University of Goettingen, Germany, and the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Hamburg, where he is Assistant Professor (Juniorprofessor) of Global Governance and Comparative Regionalism.

He holds a D.Phil in International Relations and an M.Phil in Politics, both from Oxford University. He has held research positions at the Free University of Amsterdam, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Free University of Berlin.

His research interests include international organizations, comparative regionalism, diffusion, EU external relations and IR theory. Specifically, his current work focuses on processes of institutional change in regional organizations, encompassing work on the creation of regional parliamentary assemblies, the European Union’s influence on regional institutional design, incomplete contracting and regional institutional change, as well as conceptual questions related to diffusion and regional institutional change.

Tobias Lenz teaches courses on International Relations and the European Union. 


Research Project

Under What Conditions Do Regional Organizations Evolve Institutionally?

The research project investigates the conditions under which states are willing to delegate supranational authority to regional organizations (ROs). Recent research indicates that institutional trajectories of ROs are distinct from those of most task-specific global organizations: institutional change tends to be not only much more common but also almost uniformly unidirectional. Existing levels of organizational authority tend to be the cumulative result of an iterative process of institutional reform by which organizations gradually accumulate increasing delegated competences. This research project seeks to contribute to unraveling underlying causes of this empirical observation by leveraging both quantitative and qualitative methods and new, systematically comparative data. Specifically, it explores three avenues of research on this theme: (1) the effects and mechanisms of institutional diffusion from the European Union; (2) specific combinations of structural factors that are conducive to high levels of supranational delegation; and (3) a case study of institutional evolution in Mercosur. The research project contributes to debates on the institutional evolution and design of international organizations, on the diffusion of institutional models, and on theories of regional integration.