Introduction: Specialized institutions with narrowly defined mandates flourish in various fields of international law. Global economic institutions (GEIs) such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been among the most influential. The main source of their influence is that the GEIs are often equipped with effective tools to enforce rules and policies. For example, the World Bank and the IMF may impose conditions on their loans while the WTO has a compulsory dispute settlement system. The enforcement of their rules and policies not only affects inter-state relations among the member countries but also, and more often, forces the modification of the members’ domestic policies. Because of the growing impact of the latter, these institutions are occasionally criticized for unduly restricting the autonomy of the member countries’ decision-making processes, Interestingly enough, the critics do not necessarily argue that the GEIs should not influence the domestic policies of the members at all; rather, the criticism concerns how they should do so. The criticism is twofold. First, critics express a concern over the ‘democratic deficit’ of the institutions in view of the lack of procedures in place to reflect the voices of all stakeholders, including state and non-state actors. They argue that no institution should enforce rules and policies that are formulated in the absence of those potentially affected by these rules and policies.
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