Welcome! I'm Associate Professor (Reader) of Global Politics in the Department of Government and the Department of International Relations of the London School of Economics and Political Science, where I teach courses on global politics, international institutions, and global public policy. My research focuses on the governance of global issues, especially in the area of health and labour rights, and on the possibility of democratizing global politics.

PUBLICATIONS

The Universal Republic: A Realistic Utopia?

Oxford University Press, July 2024.

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Can humanity achieve collective self-government in a highly interdependent world? Catastrophic climate change, biodiversity loss, pandemics, war and displacement, the dangers of nuclear weapons and new technologies, and persistent poverty and inequality are among the global challenges that expose the weaknesses of existing international institutions as well as the profound disparities of power and vulnerability that exist among the world’s people. The Universal Republic: A Realistic Utopia? examines whether a democratic world state is a feasible and desirable solution to the problem of establishing effective and just governance on the planet we share. While this question has haunted thinkers and doers for centuries, this book opens up novel perspectives by putting the powerful methods and rich data of contemporary social science into the service of a systematic analysis of several key dimensions of the broader theme. The first part shows why a democratic world state—a universal republic—is possible: why it can be achieved, and how it can endure without generating a frightful global despotism. The second part of the book shows why the universal republic is desirable, by exploring how it can help bring under our collective control the persistent sources of coercion, harm, and other processes that affect us deeply across national borders. By combining insights from political philosophy and empirical political science, this work sheds new light on a crucial question of our time: how to bring about a more democratic world.

Do international parliaments matter? An empirical analysis of influences on foreign policy and civil rights.

With Luka Bareis.

European Journal of International Relations, 2022.

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International parliamentary institutions (IPIs), which give parliamentarians regular opportunities to communicate with their foreign counterparts, have become a common feature in global governance. Recent research has shed light on why IPIs are created, on the similarities and differences in their institutional design, and on the reasons that lead members of national parliaments to engage with them. By contrast, there is little systematic empirical research on whether and how IPIs affect global politics. This article addresses this question by assessing their ability to influence states in relation to the position they take on issues of global concern and to how they treat their own citizens. The study identifies several mechanisms of IPI influence, leading to the hypothesis that more frequent opportunities for parliamentarians to interact with their foreign counterparts within IPIs leads in time to greater similarity in the foreign policy positions expressed by their governments and affects how those governments protect the civil rights of their citizens. A statistical analysis spanning multiple international organizations, member states, and decades indicates that IPIs offer a distinct contribution to convergence in foreign policy. By contrast, participation in IPIs is not robustly associated with civil rights protections. The finding that IPIs can be consequential on which policies governments promote internationally even though such institutions typically lack substantial authority may be encouraging for advocates of further international parliamentarization and specifically the creation of a United Nations parliamentary assembly.

Public opinion on institutional designs for the United Nations: An international survey experiment.

With Farsan Ghassim and Luis Cabrera.

International Studies Quarterly, 2022.

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Scholars and policy makers have intensely debated institutional reforms of the United Nations (UN) since its creation. Yet, relatively little attention has been given to institutional design preferences among the public in UN member states. This study examines two questions: Which possible rules concerning UN authority and representation do citizens prefer? Which personal and country characteristics are associated with their varying institutional preferences? A population-based conjoint survey experiment conducted in Argentina, China, India, Russia, Spain, and the United States is used to identify public preferences on nine distinct institutional design dimensions figuring prominently in UN reform debates. We find widespread support for increasing or at least maintaining UN authority over member states and for handing control over its decision-making to UN organs that would represent the citizens of every member state more directly. Citizens’ institutional preferences are associated with their political values and vary depending on whether their home countries would gain or lose influence from a specific reform.
Read summary of article on Washington Post: https://wapo.st/3CxrZjT

Who are the people? Defining the demos in the measurement of democracy.

Political Studies, 2022.

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Large-scale efforts to measure the democratic nature of polities across space and time are most useful when they reflect the variety of conceptions of democracy developed by political theorists. Traditionally, the attention of political theorists as well as political scientists focused on what it means for the people to rule, to the neglect of the equally important question of who the relevant people should be. In recent years, however, an increasing number of political theorists have tackled the problem of defining the demos and offered a wide range of answers. The article argues that empirical democracy measurement projects should take into account the variety of conceptions of the demos debated today instead of assuming consensus on this dimension. It also discusses how this can be done systematically. The arguments are developed with reference to the most ambitious and comprehensive democracy measurement project yet: Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem).

Could global democracy satisfy diverse policy values? An empirical analysis.

With Thomas Hale.

Journal of Politics, 2019.

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An important strand in contemporary political theory argues that democratic methods of political decision making should be extended to the global level. But are people’s fundamental views on public policy issues too diverse across the world for democracy? We examine systematically the empirical basis of two related concerns: that global democratic decision making would leave more people dissatisfied with the outcome of decisions than keeping democratic decision making within national settings and that it would increase the risk of persistent minorities, that is, groups who are systematically outvoted on most policy issues they care about. Using opinion polls covering 86% of the world population, we compare the distribution of policy values within countries to the distribution of policy values in the world as a whole. We find that the amount of dissatisfaction with policy and the risk of persistent minorities would not increase in a global democratic polity compared to individual states.

How to diagnose democratic deficits in global politics: The use of the “all affected principle".

International Theory, 2017.

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Is there a ‘democratic deficit’ in global politics? If so, which changes in institutions and practices can mitigate it? Empirically oriented scholars who ask such questions often use as a yardstick the normative principle that people significantly affected by a decision should be able to take part in reaching that decision. This ‘all-affected principle’ is also endorsed by prominent political theorists. However, its most logically consistent interpretation seems so demanding that it casts doubt on the principle’s usefulness to guide the assessment of real-world situations, since it appears to require that virtually everyone in the world should have a say on any proposal or any proposal for proposals. The argument presented here intends to rescue the principle as a tool for empirical assessments of real-world situations by stressing its role in comparative judgments and especially by showing that its implications are not too expansive and/or indeterminate, once we take into account that certain types of prior decisions significantly restrict the agenda of other decisions in a systematic way. The theoretical guidance for empirical research offered in the first part of the article is then illustrated with an application to global child labor policies.

Fuzzy citizenship in global society.

Journal of Political Philosophy, 2012.

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Many believe that people who are significantly affected by a policy decision should have an opportunity to influence that decision. This ‘all-affected principle’ arguably requires the extension of participatory entitlements beyond the circle of resident and non-resident nationals, to include also those who are neither residents nor nationals but are nevertheless significantly affected by the policy decisions of the state. However, it is also true that most residents are likely to be affected more directly and intensely by the decisions of any particular state than most non-residents. Despite growing global interdependence, jurisdictional boundaries still constrain the ability of a state to get hold of people and coerce them into obeying its laws and paying taxes. Interpretations of the all-affected principle that are sensitive to differences in affectedness thus suggest that it would be wrong to grant participatory entitlements to non-residents on the same footing as residents. This creates a conundrum: if the all-affected principle is regarded as a valid basis for assigning participatory entitlements to individuals, how should those entitlements be distributed in a world where jurisdictional boundaries between states matter in determining patterns of affectedness—but only to some extent? This article presents a solution to this conundrum. The solution is called ‘fuzzy citizenship’ and has the following key features: (a) it is based on territorial jurisdictions with authority over a broad or almost unlimited set of issues—most importantly, on states as they exist today; (b) participatory entitlements with regard to the decision-making process of those jurisdictions are accorded to all those who are likely to be causally affected by any possible decision under any possible agenda, rather than only to individuals with a privileged legal relationship to the jurisdiction (nationals) or those formally bound to comply with policy decisions because of their presence in the territory (residents); (c) participatory entitlements vary depending on the likelihood that decisions will have a significant impact on the interests of individuals; (d) since the likelihood of significant impact can only be determined on the basis of the resources controlled by jurisdictions, rather than on the basis of the content of possible decisions, jurisdictions that control a larger stock of resources should be obliged to grant more say to extraterritorial voters than jurisdictions that control a smaller stock of resources. These features can be institutionally realized in a number of ways, the simplest of which is the following: the legislature of each state should grant voting power to representatives elected by all non-residents in proportion to the share of world income under the control of that state.

Is global democracy possible?

European Journal of International Relations, 2011.

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Scepticism about the possibility of a democratically governed global polity is often rooted in beliefs about ‘necessary conditions’. Some democracy scholars consider a transition to global democracy to be incompatible with necessary conditions for democratic governance, while some International Relations scholars consider it to be incompatible with necessary conditions for international structural change. This article assesses hypotheses and evidence about democratic transitions within states and transformations in the interaction among states and concludes that arguments based on necessary conditions are not compelling. This suggests that global democracy may be unlikely but it is not impossible.

Global democracy and domestic analogies.

In: Global Democracy: Normative and Empirical Perspectives. Cambridge UP 2011.

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The chapter examines how experiences of democratization at the level of individual states can help us to understand the empirical conditions for, and possible paths towards, global democratization. Scepticism about the possibility of global democracy may be based on the belief that the world as a whole lacks the conditions that have allowed democracy to emerge in some states, notably cultural heterogeneity, economic development, relatively low levels of inequality, small or moderate size of the polity, and established statehood. The author applies ‘fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis’ to 126 cases of democratic transition within states between 1945 and 2009, and finds that none of those conditions were necessary for democracy to emerge. He concludes by sketching some of the paths through which democracy could emerge at the transnational level.

Can there be a global demos? An agency-based approach.

With Christian List.

Philosophy and Public Affairs, 2010.

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We argue that existing conceptions of a demos are ill suited for capturing precisely what kind of a global demos is needed in order to facilitate good global governance, and we propose a new conception of a demos that is better suited for this purpose. In particular, we suggest that some of the most prominent conceptions of a demos have focused too much on the question of who the members of a demos are and too little on the question of what functional characteristics it must have in order to perform its role in facilitating governance within the relevant domain. Our new proposal shifts the emphasis from the first, “compositional” question to the second, “performative” one, and thereby provides a more “agency based” account of a global demos. The key criterion that a collection of individuals must meet in order to qualify as a demos, we suggest, is that it is not merely demarcated by an appropriate membership criterion, but that it can be organized, in a democratic manner, so as to function as a state-like agent, as explained in the course of our argument. Compared to the existing, predominantly “compositional” approaches to thinking about the demos, this agency-based approach puts us into a much better position to assess the empirical prospects for the emergence of a global demos that can facilitate good global governance.

Are Europeans ready for a more democratic European Union? New evidence on preference heterogeneity, polarization and crosscuttingness.

With Thomas Hale.

European Journal of Political Research, 2016.

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Some scholars and policy makers argue in favour of increasing democratic contestation for leadership and policy at the European level, for instance by having European-wide parties campaign for competing candidates for President of the European Commission ahead of European Parliament elections. But do such changes put the survival of the European Union at risk? According to the consociational interpretation of the EU, the near absence of competitive and majoritarian elements has been a necessary condition for the stability of the EU political system given its highly diverse population. This article contributes to the debate in two ways. First, it develops a more precise understanding of ‘problematic’ diversity by examining how three variables – the heterogeneity, polarisation and crosscuttingness of citizen preferences over public polices – affect the risk of democratic contestation generating persistent and systematically dissatisfied minorities. Second, it uses opinion surveys to determine whether the degree of diversity of the European population is problematically high compared to that of established democratic states. It is found that the population of the EU is slightly more heterogeneous and polarised than the population of the average Member State, although policy preferences in several Member States are more heterogeneous and polarised than the EU as a whole. Strikingly, however, policy preference cleavages are more crosscutting in the EU than in nearly all Member States, reducing the risk of persistent minorities. Moreover, policy preferences tend to be less heterogeneous and polarised, and nearly as crosscutting, in the EU as a whole as in the United States. For observers worried about how high polarisation and low crosscuttingness in policy preferences may combine to threaten democratic stability, these findings should be reassuring.

Related blog entries:
Do Britons and other Europeans disagree on policy issues? With Thomas Hale. LSE Brexit blog.
Is Brexit a contest between low-earning Leavers and high-earning Remainers? With Miriam Sorace. LSE Brexit blog.

Explaining government preferences for institutional change in EU foreign and security policy.

International Organization, 2004.

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Some member-states of the European Union (EU) want a supranational foreign and security policy, while other member-states oppose any significant limitation of national sovereignty in this domain. What explains this variation? Answering this question could help us to better understand not only the trajectory of European unification, but also the conditions and prospects of consensual political integration in other regional contexts and territorial scales. The main research traditions in international relations theory suggest different explanations. I examine the roles of relative power capabilities, foreign policy interests, Europeanized identities, and domestic multilevel governance in determining the preferences of the fifteen EU member governments concerning the institutional depth of their foreign and security policy cooperation. I find that power capabilities and collective identities have a significant influence, but the effect of ideas about the nature and locus of sovereignty, as reflected in the domestic constitution of each country, is particularly remarkable.

International governance as new raison d’État? The case of the EU common foreign and security policy

European Journal of International Relations, 2004.

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Various scholars have suggested that at times national governments use international cooperation to gain influence in the domestic political arena and to overcome internal opposition to their preferred policies. Klaus Dieter Wolf has argued that this practice represents the latest embodiment of a longstanding raison d’état and has provided theoretical foundations for its systematic study. This article assesses the usefulness of this ‘new raison d’état’ thesis as a source of empirical hypotheses about the origins and persistence of international institutions. On the basis of the general logic of the argument, I develop one crucial implication that may be corroborated by cross-national research. In the light of this, the preferences of European governments regarding the institutional depth of the European Union’s common foreign and security policy are examined. Overall, the findings presented in this article confirm that ‘collusive delegation’ can be a significant factor in the creation of international governance arrangements.

National action on antimicrobial resistance and the political economy of health care.

With Mirko Heinzel.

Journal of European Public Policy, 2024.

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Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to human health in the twenty-first century. A key dimension of global governance in this domain consists of encouraging governments to create national action plans (NAPs) aimed at improving awareness of AMR, improving knowledge through surveillance and research, reducing infection, optimising the use of antimicrobial medicines, and investing in new drugs, vaccines and other interventions. The adoption and implementation of NAPs occur in the context of great political and institutional diversity across countries, and this article examines the consequences of different ways of financing health care. We expect the implementation of NAPs to be more successful in optimising antibiotics use when governments play a larger role in financing health care compared to private expenditure. An analysis of patterns of antibiotic consumption in 191 countries between 2000 and 2018 supports the hypothesis.

Soft governance against superbugs: How effective is the international regime on antimicrobial resistance?

With Mirko Heinzel.

Review of International Organizations, 2023.

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the declining effectiveness of antibiotic medicines due to misuse are among the biggest threats to global health and a major challenge for global governance in this century. Since drug-resistant bacteria spread easily across borders, government policies that exacerbate or mitigate AMR affect other countries. International organizations and governments addressed the global public good of maintaining antimicrobial protection by creating a soft governance regime largely devoid of legally binding rules and enforcement mechanisms. This article presents a cross-national empirical assessment of the effectiveness of the international AMR regime combining novel data on national action plans and data on antibiotic consumption in 191 countries between 2000 and 2018. We find that the regime sets ambitious goals and achieves broad participation, substantial implementation, and meaningful change in the use of antibiotics. The involvement of the largest consumers of antibiotics has been crucial for both effectiveness and equity.

Harmful side effects: How government restrictions against transnational civil society affect global health.

With Mirko Heinzel.

British Journal of Political Science, 2022.

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Governments have increasingly adopted laws restricting the activities of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) within their borders. Such laws are often intended to curb the ability of critical INGOs to discover and communicate government failures and abuses to domestic and international audiences. They can also have the unintended effect of reducing the presence and activities of INGOs working on health issues and deprive local health workers and organisations of access to resources, knowledge, and other forms of support. This study assesses whether legislative INGO restrictions are associated with fewer health INGOs across a wide range of countries and with the ability of those countries to mitigate disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost because of 21 disease categories between 1993 and 2017. The findings indicate that restrictive legislation hampered efforts by civil society to lighten the global burden of disease and had adverse side effects on the health of citizens worldwide.

The social construction of global health priorities: An empirical analysis of contagion in bilateral health aid.

With Leonardo Baccini and Mirko Heinzel.

International Studies Quarterly, 2022.

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Donors of development assistance for health typically provide funding for a range of disease focus areas, such as maternal health and child health, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other infectious diseases. But funding for each disease category does not match closely its contribution to the disability and loss of life it causes and the cost-effectiveness of interventions. We argue that peer influences in the social construction of global health priorities contribute to explaining this misalignment. Aid policy-makers are embedded in a social environment encompassing other donors, health experts, advocacy groups, and international officials. This social environment influences the conceptual and normative frameworks of decision-makers, which in turn affect their funding priorities. Aid policy-makers are especially likely to emulate decisions on funding priorities taken by peers with whom they are most closely involved in the context of expert and advocacy networks. We draw on novel data on donor connectivity through health IGOs and health INGOs and assess the argument by applying spatial regression models to health aid disbursed globally between 1990 and 2017. The analysis provides strong empirical support for our argument that the involvement in overlapping expert and advocacy networks shapes funding priorities regarding disease categories and recipient countries in health aid.

The social network of international health aid.

With Lu Han and Tore Opsahl.

Social Science & Medicine, 2018.

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International development assistance for health generates an emergent social network in which policy makers in recipient countries are connected to numerous bilateral and multilateral aid agencies and to other aid recipients. Ties in this global network are channels for the transmission of knowledge, norms and influence in addition to material resources, and policy makers in centrally situated governments receive information faster and are exposed to a more diverse range of sources and perspectives. Since diversity of perspectives improves problem-solving capacity, the structural position of aid-receiving governments in the health aid network can affect the health outcomes that those governments are able to attain. We apply a recently developed Social Network Analysis measure to health aid data for 1990–2010 to investigate the relationship between country centrality in the health aid network and improvements in child health. A generalized method of moments (GMM) analysis indicates that, controlling for the volume of health aid and other factors, higher centrality in the health aid network is associated with better child survival rates in a sample of 110 low and middle income countries.

Aid fragmentation or aid pluralism? The effect of multiple donors on child survival in developing countries, 1990-2010.

With Lu Han.

World Development, 2015.

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While most policy-makers and researchers stress the negative impact of “aid fragmentation” on development outcomes in recipient countries, we argue that the greater diversity of perspectives entailed by higher multiplicity of donors can help select better policies. We hypothesize a U-shaped relationship: countries with a moderate number of donors fare better than countries with either few or many donors. The hypothesis is supported by a generalized method of moments (GMM) analysis of the relationship between health aid donors and child survival in 110 low- and middle-income countries during 1990–2010.

Complexity and institutional diversity in global health governance: Implications for Asia.

In: Asia’s Role in Governing Global Health, Routledge 2013.

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This chapter addresses three research challenges. First, how can we subject to systematic scrutiny the widespread perception that global health governance (GHG) is becoming more complex? How can complexity be defined and operationalized in such a way as to provide a precision tool for qualitative, quantitative, comparative and historical research? Second, what are the consequences of complexity? To what extent does more complexity--more precisely, specific forms of complexity--have a positive or negative impact on outcomes, such as infant mortality, overall mortality rates, immunizations, disability-adjusted life expectancy, government spending on health, measures of health inequality, etc.? Are certain forms of complexity more beneficial or harmful than others, and is their impact linear or non-linear? Third, to what extent can the level and form of complexity be modified by deliberate policy choices? Answering this question requires a broader analysis of the causes of complexity and an assessment of the relative importance of structural and policy-controlled causes in explaining existing levels and forms of governance complexity.

International institutions in a functionally differentiated world society.

In: Bringing Sociology to International Relations: World Politics as Differentiation Theory, Cambridge UP 2011.

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In their introduction to this volume, Mathias Albert, Barry Buzan and Michael Zürn suggest that long-term structural change in the international system can be analyzed in terms of the interaction between, and relative importance of, three different forms of social differentiation: segmentary, stratificatory and functional. The present chapter argues that international institutions address, and can contribute to solve, the tensions between the “demands” of different functional subsystems. Much is known about how international institutions can reduce conflict and promote cooperation among states; but less is known about how, indeed whether, international institutions may affect the tensions that characterize a functionally differentiated world society. The chapter thus has three aims. The first is to explore what it would mean for an international institution to promote “coordination” between functional subsystems in addition to coordination between social segments in the political subsystem, i.e. states. The second is to suggest some of the mechanisms through which that may happen. The third is to illustrate how such mechanisms may operate in practice by discussing the case of the international sanitary conferences in the nineteenth century.

Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

In: Handbook of Transnational Governance, Polity Press 2011.

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The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has been described by the WHO as ‘the largest public health initiative in history’. It was launched in 1988 with a goal to eradicate polio by the year 2000. At the time of writing, the goal has not been attained yet, although the global incidence of polio has been reduced by over 99 per cent. The main drivers of the partnership are the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the US Centers for Disease Control, and Rotary International, but the initiative depends on the cooperation of a range of state and non-state actors in virtually every country of the world. Health workers and volunteers have immunized over 2 billion children on National Immunization Days (NIDs), and international donors have contributed over $7 billion to the eradication effort.

Has global trade competition really led to a race to the bottom in labor standards?

With Alessandro Guasti.

International Studies Quarterly, 2022.

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The possibility that economic competition puts working and employment conditions under pressure is a frequently voiced concern in debates on international trade. We provide an empirical assessment of the argument that competition for world markets has generated a race to the bottom in labor standards. Spatial econometrics is used to identify interdependence in labor practices among trade competitors. We present a strategy for measuring export competition between countries that fulfils several criteria: it reflects actual competition between firms offering similar products, rather than export similarity in relation to a few very broad product categories; it captures not only what competitor countries export but also how much; it takes into account that states are exposed to export competition to different degrees; and it focuses on the downward pressure stemming from a deterioration of labor rights protections among close competitors. To address endogeneity, we implement a two-stage least square (2SLS) instrumental variable approach and a difference two-stage generalized method of moments (GMM) approach. We find no evidence that export competition has triggered a race to the bottom in two samples covering most states in the world over nearly three decades. The finding is robust to a variety of alternative specifications.

Why do states commit to international labor standards? Interdependent ratification of core ILO conventions, 1948-2009.

With Leonardo Baccini.

World Politics, 2014.

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Ratifying core conventions adopted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) creates legal obligations to improve labor standards in the domestic economy, notably with regard to union rights, minimum age and discrimination in employment, and forced labor. Why and when do states choose to ratify them? Two influential theoretical approaches lead to the expectation that states are influenced by the ratification behavior of other states. Drawing on rationalist institutionalism, the authors expect states to use institutions such as the ILO to improve or consolidate their preferred standards domestically while reducing the risk of suffering competitive disadvantages in world markets. In this view, ILO conventions are devices for the prevention and mitigation of regulatory races to the bottom among trade rivals. Drawing on sociological institutionalism, they expect states to ratify ILO conventions if doing so conforms to a norm of appropriate behavior that is prevalent in a state's peer groups. This article develops observable implications of these hypotheses and tests them by applying spatial regression models to seven core ILO conventions and 187 countries between 1948 and 2009. The analysis yields strong evidence in support of both hypotheses.

Does transnational private governance reduce or displace labor abuses? Addressing sorting dynamics across global supply chains.

Regulation & Governance, 2017.

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The attention of practitioners and scholars of private regulation of working conditions is focused on whether and how corporate buyers can help improve labor and safety standards in the factories that supply them by adopting codes of conduct, joining social certification schemes, participating in social audit processes, and financing safety improvements. I argue that more attention should be paid to the possibility that private regulation schemes – whatever degree of compliance they achieve – mostly result in a displacement effect or sorting dynamic that leaves the overall level of working conditions unchanged. I sketch a research agenda aimed at identifying the conditions under which a sorting dynamic can occur and at conceiving innovative private governance designs that could avoid it.

Transnational corporations and public accountability.

Government and Opposition, 2004.

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This article examines whether, how and with what effect transnational corporations can be held publicly accountable for their activities. The first section discusses the problem of accountability of corporations in general. The second section examines the accountability gaps that are particularly severe as a result of the transnational reach of TNCs. The third section looks at existing attempts to close these gaps, including intergovernmental cooperation, business 'self-regulation' and initiatives that involve nongovernmental organizations and supranational agencies in defining standards of conduct for companies and monitoring their compliance; it will also try to assess to what extent these initiatives are able to close the accountability gaps generated by transnationalized production.

International organizations and democracy: An assessment.

In: Institutional Cosmopolitanism, Oxford UP 2018.

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How should we judge existing international organizations (IOs)? Cosmopolitans often assess such institutions against nonexistent but plausible alternatives. By contrast, this chapter assesses the effect of institutions relative to situations in which they are absent. It first disaggregates “democracy” into a number of constituent principles, falling under the demos dimension (who are the people?) and the kratos dimension (how do the people rule?). It then systematically assesses the recent empirical literature on the impact of international institutions on each of the principles identified. Overall, a mixed picture emerges. Not only are there significant differences among IOs, but sometimes the same organization appears to improve one dimension of democracy while being detrimental to another. This gives reason for cosmopolitans to conduct or encourage further empirical research aiming at identifying institutional designs that can enhance several dimensions of democracy at the same time.

The role of beneficiaries in transnational regulatory processes.

With Kate Macdonald.

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2017.

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Kenneth Abbott, David Levi-Faur, and Duncan Snidal highlight the role of intermediaries, alongside regulators and targets, as a way to better understand the outcomes of regulatory processes. Here, we explore the benefits of distinguishing a fourth category of actors: the groups whose interests the rules are meant to protect, the (intended) beneficiaries. We apply that framework to nonstate regulation of labor conditions, where the primary intended beneficiaries are workers and their families, especially in poorer countries. We first outline the different ways in which beneficiaries can relate to regulators, intermediaries, and targets; we then develop conjectures about the effect of different relationships on regulatory impacts and democratic legitimacy in relation to corporate power structures, specifically those embedded in the governance of global supply chains. We illustrate these conjectures primarily with examples from three initiatives—Rugmark, the Fair Labor Association, and the Fairtrade system. We conclude that it matters whether and how beneficiaries are included in the regulatory process.

Accountability.

In: The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations, 2017.

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This chapter examines the issue of accountability in relation to international organizations (IOs). The research questions deserving most intense theoretical and empirical attention are, first, who should be accountable to whom and, second, to what extent they actually are. It outlines some approaches to answering these questions; highlights the most promising one; and sketches the contours of a possible solution to a major problem that plagues that approach. The chapter shows that the selection and design of IOs plays a special role in overall assessments of accountability. The most persuasive answer to the first question remains some version of the principle that everyone who is affected by a political decision should be able to influence that decision. Even under conditions of global interconnectedness, this does not mean that everyone should have a say on any decisions taken anywhere else: decision-makers should be accountable to specific constituencies in proportion to the power they wield over those constituencies. This approach is illustrated with examples from global health policy.

Accountability-by-proxy in transnational non-state governance.

With Kate Macdonald.

Governance, 2013.

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Transnational non-state governance arrangements (NGAs) are increasingly common in areas such as labor standards and environmental sustainability, often presenting themselves as innovative means through which the lives of marginalized communities in developing countries can be improved. Yet in some cases, the policy interventions adopted by the managers of these NGAs appear not to be welcomed by their supposed beneficiaries. This article accounts for this predicament by examining the effects of different configurations of accountability within NGAs promoting labor rights. Most labor-rights NGAs incorporate “proxy accountability” arrangements, in which consumers and activists hold decision makers accountable “on behalf” of the putative beneficiaries of the NGAs: workers and affected communities in poorer countries. The article shows how and why different combinations of proxy versus beneficiary accountability influence the choice of policy instruments used by NGAs, and applies the argument to three prominent non-state initiatives in the domain of labor standards.

Understanding the global dimensions of policy.

Global Policy, 2010.

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Beyond wide agreement that many areas of contemporary policy making are unintelligible if processes that transcend the boundaries of individual states are not taken into account, analysts often disagree on how various ‘global’ and ‘local’ factors interact to produce policies and policy outcomes. The disagreement stems in part from the use of different analytic lenses, and specifically from the choice between ‘state-centric’ and ‘polycentric’ lenses. This article examines the fundamental assumptions of these general perspectives with regard to the polity, politics and policy dimensions of global policy making, and surveys some of the research questions and findings that resulted from their use. It concludes that scholars and policy makers should treat the two analytical lenses as complementary, as each of them stimulates the analyst to ask questions and look for entities and causal connections that the other lens may miss.

Accountability in transnational relations: How distinctive is it?

West European Politics, 2010.

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In recent years, an increasing number of scholars have used the concept of ‘accountability’ to describe and assess relationships among actors who are primarily based in different state jurisdictions, or involving actors transcending state jurisdictions. Is there something inherently distinctive about accountability in transnational spaces as compared to the more familiar instances of accountability observed in domestic contexts? This article examines the distinctiveness of transnational accountability in relation to: (1) its general meaning and specific forms; (2) its aims and importance; (3) its empirical existence and the relative frequency of its forms; (4) its causes; and (5) its effects. The article cautiously concludes that on most of these dimensions the similarities outweigh the differences and that it would be unfruitful for research on transnational accountability to develop separately from that on domestic accountability.

Global regulation.

In: The Oxford Handbook of Regulation, 2010.

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There is nothing new about the insight that the regulation of economic and social life in a country can be profoundly affected by policies decided and implemented outside of the borders of that country. For instance, the preamble of the constitution of the International Labour Organisation, approved in 1919 as part of the Peace Treaty of Versailles, expressed clearly the implications of what later came to be known as regulatory competition. But the academic and public debates about economic, environmental, and cultural globalisation that burgeoned since the end of the Cold War have strengthened the interest in the question of the relative weight of ‘global’ and ‘local’ influences on regulatory policies. This article addresses some of the most intensely debated questions about the global factors that may be relevant to regulation, with a focus on how these questions have been asked and answered by political scientists.

New Modes of Governance in the Global System.

Edited with Michael Zürn.

Palgrave Macmillan 2006.

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Globalization processes are propelling a transformation of governance. As political problems become more transnational, public as well as private actors increasingly perform governance activities beyond the level of individual states. This book examines the wide variety of forms that governance can take in the global system and their consequences. An overarching analytical framework is applied to global institutions and initiatives in areas such as trade liberalization, financial market regulation, privacy protection, cybercrime, and food safety.

Global Governance and Public Accountability.

Edited with David Held.

Blackwell 2005.

"This excellent volume raises serious analytical and normative questions of public accountability challenges posed by innovations in global governance, and it provides sophisticated, non-ideological answers. It marks an important contribution to the debate."
John Gerard Ruggie, Harvard University.

Taming Globalization: Frontiers of Governance.

Edited with David Held.

Polity Press 2003.

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In this volume some of the world’s leading analysts of globalization discuss the economic, political and ethical implications of global economic integration. They assess the benefits and the costs of globalization and suggest strategies for reconciling it with the interests and aspirations of the people in all regions of the world. The contributors understand globalization not as a uniform process that should be praised or condemned in its entirety, but as a complex phenomenon that can and must be shaped and steered towards socially desirable goals. They reject the idea that the results of market processes are inexorable or invariably beneficial. On the contrary, they call for a robust global governance that is attentive to normative commitments - the common good, social justice, and democratic accountability - and does not reflect the overwhelming power of a handful of governments and corporate interests.

Mapping global governance.

In: Governing Globalization, Polity Press 2003.

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This chapter provides an overview of the complex structure of contemporary global governance. The first section focuses on the demand for governance at the global level and suggests a framework for looking at its sources. The second section deals with the supply side and suggests a taxonomy of global governance arrangements. The third section looks at the interplay between these arrangements in the global arena.