Deliberative Quality in Trade-Related International Organisations

How could the concept of Deliberative Quality help improve the conditions under which decisions are made, and could it serve to develop better processes and outcomes in trade-related organizations?

Project Summary

Deliberative quality is rooted in the idea that decision-making is not a simple aggregation of pre-existing preferences, nor an arena where the most powerful wins, but a process where different actors interact and justify their positions to find common ground for agreement. In the face of strong headwinds against multilateralism, eroding trust, and decreasing perceived legitimacy and relevance of trade-related international organizations (IOs), a solid and effective strategy of Deliberative Quality allows to better address such challenges, particularly paving the way for a renewed role for IOs.

This project aims to develop the concept of Deliberative Quality, focusing on its application in trade-related International Organisations (IOs), analyzing decision-making processes and stakeholder engagement strategies of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD), and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

Its main research questions are

  • How is Deliberative Quality produced in the three trade-related IOs?
  • What determines more Deliberative Quality in decision-making processes, making them more inclusive, accountable, legitimate, and thus more impactful?

Using the lenses of Public Administration/Political Science, Behavioural Sciences, and Science and Technology Studies on one side, and the contribution of Anthropology, Law, and International Trade/Business on the other, this project will develop a transdisciplinary framework of analysis.

The project engages three organizations through the case studies carried out in the project – formal trade negotiations at WTO with the case of fisheries, trade analysis and reporting at UNCTAD with the commerce strategy, and trade empowerment at ITC with the women and trade initiative. The study will also use their engagement by validating the produced framework and disseminating the results.


Research Team

Jean-Patrick Villeneuve
Università della Svizzera Italiana

Alberto Bitonti
Università della svizzera Italiana

Lu Xiankun 
Principal Member
University of International Business and Economics of China

Kristina S. Weissmüller 
Principal Member
University of Bern

Gianluca Miscione 
Principal Member
University College Dublin

Pablo Conteras
Principal Member
Universidad Autónoma de Chile

Shaila Seshia Galvin
Principal Member
Graduate Institute

Marcel Hanegraaf
Associated Member
University of Amsterdam

Michael Gibbert 
Associated Member
Università della Svizzera Italiana

Matthew Anthony Wilson 
Associated Member
International Trade Center

Joe Foti
Associated Member
Open Government Partnership

Frederico Anghelé
Associated Member
The Good Lobby

Seema Arora Jonsson  
Associated Member
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences





Policy domains


Host Institution