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Daßler, Benjamin; Kruck, Andreas and Zangl, Bernhard (18. April 2018): Interactions between hard and soft power. The institutional adaptation of international intellectual property protection to global power shifts. In: European Journal of International Relations

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Prevailing power transition theories focus on hard sources of power to explain why international institutions do, or do not, adapt to shifts in the balance of power among their members. This article argues that, in the wake of such a shift in the balance between emerging and established powers, institutional adaptations depend on both their hard and soft power resources. Soft power matters for institutional adaptations because both emerging and established powers have to justify the use of hard power to their respective audiences. Whether emerging or established powers are able to use the hard power they have depends crucially on rhetorical resources, such as claims of legitimacy and their (transnational) societal resonance. We provide empirical support for our argument through an analysis of the adaptation of the Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights agreement and the adaptation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Emerging powers such as Brazil, India and South Africa were able to bring about institutional adaptations because they not only had the hard power to undermine the respective institutions, but could also build on civil society support that legitimized their demands or constrained established states’ use of hard power to fend off their demands.

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