Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Reflexive Governance for Global Public Goods

Reflexive Governance for Global Public Goods

Eric Brousseau
Tom Dedeurwaerdere
Bernd Siebenhüner
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 382
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Reflexive Governance for Global Public Goods
    Book Description:

    Global public goods (GPGs)--the economic term for a broad range of goods and services that benefit everyone, including stable climate, public health, and economic security--pose notable governance challenges. At the national level, public goods are often provided by government, but at the global level there is no established state-like entity to take charge of their provision. The complex nature of many GPGs poses additional problems of coordination, knowledge generation and the formation of citizen preferences. This book considers traditional public economy theory of public goods provision as oversimplified, because it is state centered and fiscally focused. It develops a multidisciplinary look at the challenges of understanding and designing appropriate governance regimes for different types of goods in such areas as the environment, food security, and development assistance. The chapter authors, all leading scholars in the field, explore the misalignment between existing GPG policies and actors' incentives and understandings. They analyze the complex impact of incentives, the involvement of stakeholders in collective decision making, and the specific coordination needed for the generation of knowledge. The book shows that governance of GPGs must be democratic, reflexive--emphasizing collective learning processes--and knowledge based in order to be effective.The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-30121-3
    Subjects: Economics, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Series Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Peter M. Haas and Sheila Jasanoff

    As our understanding of environmental threats deepens and broadens, it is increasingly clear that many environmental issues cannot be simply understood, analyzed, or acted upon. The multifaceted relationships between human beings, social and political institutions, and the physical environment in which they are situated extend across disciplinary as well as geopolitical confines, and cannot be analyzed or resolved in isolation.

    The purpose of this series is to address the increasingly complex questions of how societies come to understand, confront, and cope with both the sources and the manifestations of present and potential environmental threats. Works in the series may focus...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)
    Eric Brousseau, Tom Dedeurwaerdere and Bernd Siebenhüner

    A broad range of fundamental goods and services can be categorized as global public goods (GPGs). The problem of the change in the world’s climate through greenhouse gas emissions is global in nature since it has the potential to affect all the world’s inhabitants directly or indirectly. Put positively, everyone will benefit from a stable climate. The same holds true for the conservation of biodiversity on the Earth (global biodiversity). Potentially, everyone benefits from the guarantee it provides for the long-term adaptability of the earth’s ecosystems to evolving conditions. Other examples of GPGs include public health, peace, and economic security...

  7. I The Challenges in Governing Global Public Goods

    • [I Introduction]
      (pp. 19-20)

      Governance mechanisms are needed to overcome GPG provision problems. The first part of this book explores the principles of governance that will ensure consistency between the preferences of citizens and the efficient provision of GPG, and it will also bridge the knowledge gap (which is a necessary prerequisite for building preferences and devising workable solutions). To avoid any moral (or immoral) bias, the first chapter shows that even starting from a set of minimal assumptions—self-interested individuals with bounded rationality—raises problems of global concern that should be governed by a combination of political and economic institutions. Among these is...

    • 1 Global Public Goods: The Participatory Governance Challenges
      (pp. 21-36)
      Eric Brousseau and Tom Dedeurwaerdere

      This book addresses the topic of the governance of global public goods (GPGs). As explained in the introduction, the specific problem in the governance of GPGs is not only their multilevel character, due to the absence of a supreme global political constituency that shapes collective preferences and makes collective decisions. It is also the lack of clear-cut knowledge on collective preferences and solutions. This intricate combination of a collective-choice issue and a cognitive lack makes it worth discussing an analytical framework aimed at disentangling the various dimensions of the questions to be analyzed and debated.

      It should not be forgotten...

    • 2 Rethinking Public Goods and Global Public Goods
      (pp. 37-54)
      Inge Kaul

      Public policy-making realities have, during recent decades, changed in often fundamental ways. Openness of national borders has increased; the roles of markets and governments have been rebalanced; an ever more densely networked global civil society has emerged; technological advances have been accomplished; and policy-making instruments have become more diversified and refined.

      Some of these changes have already been incorporated into the mainstream theory of public economics as, for example, presented in the textbooks of this discipline. Yet one core element of this theory, the concept of public goods, has so far remained largely unchanged. It still reflects the era when...

    • 3 New Face of Development Assistance: Public Goods and Changing Ethics
      (pp. 55-72)
      Todd Sandler and Daniel G. Arce

      Traditionally, foreign assistance provides private goods and social overhead capital to less-fortunate nations as a means to relieve abject poverty. Social overhead capital—for example, bridges, communication systems, schools, courts, and law enforcement—often consists of national public goods (NPGs), whose benefits are non-rival and non-excludable to those in the recipient country. As a precondition for markets and sustainable growth, some social overhead capital is necessary. An important motivation for traditional forms of foreign assistance is altruism as donors transfer income and goods to help those in need to achieve a higher standard of well-being.¹ Within multilaterals (e.g., World Bank),...

  8. II Designing Complex Incentive Schemes

    • [II Introduction]
      (pp. 73-74)

      The chapters in the second part provide arguments for designing complex incentive schemes, based on a careful examination of the influence of various instruments on the outcomes of GPG provision, and on an analysis of the complex relations between instruments. Frey’s chapter is a powerful illustration of this perspective. By drawing on research findings from economics, psychology, and political science, it analyzes the complex interplay that exists between incentive instruments and the likelihood of a spontaneous contribution to public goods. The possibility of the crowding out of voluntary contributions becomes a major issue here. It depends critically on the refusal...

    • 4 Crowding Out and Crowding In of Intrinsic Preferences
      (pp. 75-84)
      Bruno Frey

      The fundamental idea of modern microeconomic theory is that individuals act rationally—that is, consistently—and are subject to external constraints. This model of humans has often been called the “homo oeconomicus,” and it provides clear and empirically testable predictions about how individuals will react to changes in relative prices, controlling for income changes induced. The “price effect” when applied to demand states that a price rise reduces the quantity demanded; the demand curve is negatively sloped. Applied to supply the price effect predicts that a higher price induces an increase in supply; price and quantity are positively related. Paying...

    • 5 Regulatory Reform and Reflexive Regulation: Beyond Command and Control
      (pp. 85-104)
      Neil Gunningham

      The concept of reflexive governance initially emerged within the context of the discussions on sustainable development, in part because of the importance given to non-market values in this debate and the call for the development of new modes of regulation more attuned to complex motivations. As a result, many innovative practices have been developed and put into practice over the last two decades in the field of environmental governance. This chapter builds upon this literature, by constructing a typology of reflexive governance models that have been proposed as a means to overcome various insufficiencies of direct—or command and control—...

    • 6 Governance of the Research and Development Sector for Biotechnology: Intellectual Property Rights and Bioprospecting
      (pp. 105-120)
      Mare Sarr and Timothy Swanson

      Bioprospecting is a form of research and development (R&D) used by pharmaceutical or biotechnology firms to find and collect natural compounds necessary for the development of new drugs. It requires cooperation between the bioprospecting firm and the community hosting the genetic resources and/or traditional knowledge. The host community provides basic or pure information on potential solution concepts, while the R&D firm supplies the practical capabilities for developing these solution concepts into marketable compounds and products. In this manner, primary biological information is generated and channeled through a secondary R&D sector to become commercial products capable of addressing consumer needs.


  9. III Compliance:: From Legal Tools to Moral Norms

    • [III Introduction]
      (pp. 121-122)

      This third part of the book addresses the role of informal compliance measures, such as social norms, moral pressure, and long-term change in core policy beliefs. Addressing global public good provision at regional and transnational levels necessitates a departure from the more formal instruments of the state. Sovereign states have their own agendas and can be constrained by short-term electoral politics, which explains why they are often reluctant to comply with cooperative agreements on GPGs that only provide diffuse, long-term benefits. The chapter by Godard shows that the voice of worldwide citizen movements and the threat of a loss of...

    • 7 Managing Global Risks through “Proportionate” Precaution: The Interplay between States, Civil Society, and International Regulation
      (pp. 123-144)
      Olivier Godard

      Among the risk management concepts that the twenty-first century inherited from the last two decades of the twentieth , the precautionary principle (PP) has been an especially critical breakthrough. The concept was first introduced in the 1980s and has been built incrementally into environmental law ever since. In spite of undeniable achievements, the status of the PP as a tool for tackling major environmental issues of global scope remains surprisingly weak. This is due in part to the temptation by many to rely on a less legally-demanding precautionary approach (PA); but more fundamental and problematic explanations are also involved. In...

    • 8 Subnational Climate-Friendly Governance Initiatives in the Developing World: A Case Study of the State of São Paulo, Brazil
      (pp. 145-158)
      Kamyla Borges Cunha, Fernando Rei and Arnaldo César Walter

      The recognition of global environmental issues, such as climate change, along with other challenges that call for rapid and effective responses from society has turned the attention of policy makers to the international spheres of political decision making. More and more nation-state governments are starting to incorporate actions aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change into their strategic decisions.

      However, from the perspective of legitimacy and effectiveness, other challenges are added to that of the changing climate regime, in particular the complexity of international laws governing the adoption and implementation of effective measures to combat global warming, and the...

    • 9 Reflexive Governance and Multilevel Decision Making in Agricultural Policy: Conceptual Reflections and Empirical Evidence
      (pp. 159-178)
      Peter H. Feindt

      The concept ofreflexive governancehas gained much attention in the discussion about science policy (Wynne 1993), network governance (Rhodes 1997), sustainability governance (Voß, Bauknecht, and Kemp 2006), and multilevel decision making (Lenoble 2005; Rogowski 2006). It denotes a mode of governance in which cognitive procedures are designed to create feedback on multiple regulatory frameworks to influence actors’ beliefs and norms (Dedeurwaerdere 2009). In reflexive governance, cognitive and normative beliefs complement the political-administrative hierarchy and economic incentives as mechanisms for coordination.

      Different aspects of reflexive governance have been accentuated in the various fields of research. In the context of multilevel...

  10. IV Multi-Stakeholder Coordination:: How to Manage Heterogeneity

    • [IV Introduction]
      (pp. 179-180)

      The fourth part of the book explores the general call for multi-stakeholder and deliberative methods to manage the new interdependencies of actors on a global scale. Since the initial enthusiasm in the 1990s for these innovations in governance, many experiments have been run and systematic analysis has been carried out. This allows some first lessons for GPG provision to be drawn. First, there are some important trade-offs, such as between increasing the effectiveness of agreements and complying with higher environmental standards. The research also shows the need to combine multi-stakeholder coordination with other tools, such as learning about legal and...

    • 10 Participatory Governance and Sustainability: Findings of a Meta-Analysis of Stakeholder Involvement in Environmental Decision Making
      (pp. 181-204)
      Oliver Fritsch and Jens Newig

      Environmental governance on both sides of the Atlantic increasingly relies on the participation of non-state actors such as citizens and organized interest groups (Kagan, Gunningham, and Thornton 2003). Prompted by the U.S. Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990 and the Rio Declaration of 1992 (which demands in principle 10 that “environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens”), followed by the Aarhus Convention of 1998, four recent European Union directives¹ have legally institutionalized access to information and public participation in environmental decisions.

      Among the motives and rationales for public participation, which have traditionally centered around emancipatory and...

    • 11 Social Learning in the Governance of Forest Ecosystem Services
      (pp. 205-224)
      Tom Dedeurwaerdere

      A lot of work on institutions has focused on the design of well-adapted systems of rules, which best fit to the biophysical and social environment. In such a static approach the goal is to look for the most optimal institutional design given a certain model of the actor situation. However, in spite of the obvious operational strengths of this approach, it fails to address important dynamic features of complex systems—particularly in the case of environmental governance, in which the relatively slow natural evolution of ecological systems is at present confronted with new rapidly evolving, human-induced constraints such as the...

    • 12 Value Articulating Institutions and Changing Social Preferences
      (pp. 225-240)
      Sigrid Stagl

      Governance for sustainable development struggles with complexity, uncertainty, path-dependence, ambivalence, and distributed control. Reflexive governance is societal steering that is embedded in ongoing dynamics of socio-ecological change and that focuses on interactions and feedback relations for open-ended systemic learning rather than achieving defined ends and striving for control. Strategies for implementing reflexive governance include: integrated knowledge production; iterative, participatory goal formulation; appraising options by anticipation of their possible indirect and long-term effects on system dynamics; and interactive strategy development and adaptive strategies and experimentation. Reflexive governance requires opening up governance processes for interaction and feedback, with closing down of these...

  11. V Knowledge Generation on Global Issues

    • [V Introduction]
      (pp. 241-242)

      One of the cross-cutting issues in the analysis of new governance tools in this book is the generation of knowledge. Knowledge of global public goods influences individual and social preferences and informs the democratic deliberation processes discussed in the previous parts of the book. However, lack of knowledge on solutions and on collective preferences is a serious practical challenge in any problem of GPG provision.

      The importance of knowledge generation is explicitly addressed in the chapters in this part of the book. They show that institutional mechanisms for global governance should be analyzed from the perspective of knowledge generation and...

    • 13 Knowledge Matters: Institutional Frameworks to Govern the Provision of Global Public Goods
      (pp. 243-282)
      Eric Brousseau, Tom Dedeurwaerdere and Bernd Siebenhüner

      The provision of global public goods (GPGs) has been extensively discussed in recent years. This chapter focuses on institutional frameworks for generating the knowledge that is needed to make decisions about the provision of these goods. Currently, there is a lack of knowledge about both needs and solutions. Collective goals are unknown because individuals and communities can only form preferences if they are conscious of the actual issues at stake, and of the way they impact on their own individual situation, the situations of others, and those of future members of the society. Hence, this lack of knowledge is not...

    • 14 From Rationalism to Reflexivity? Reflections on Change in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan
      (pp. 283-298)
      Anna Lawrence and Star Molteno

      Human survival relies on continued ecosystem functioning, access to genetic diversity for various utilitarian benefits (e.g., crop breeding, medicines), and psychological well-being associated with a connection to nature. Some of these benefits are non-excludable, while others (such as genetic diversity) are subject to attempts to privatize them. In 1992 the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) simultaneously globalized and nationalized the problem of biodiversity conservation, by emphasizing the universal human interest but responding to that (somewhat controversially) through a focus on sovereign rights to benefits.

      Because the definition of biodiversity includes genes, species, and ecosystem processes, it refers to a complex...

    • 15 Reflexive Governance and the Importance of Individual Competencies: The Case of Adaptation to Climate Change in Germany
      (pp. 299-314)
      Torsten Grothmann and Bernd Siebenhüner

      Most problems of modern societies on local, domestic, and global levels (e.g., environmental protection, economic development, and social welfare) cannot sufficiently be addressed by conventional forms of policy making in which state agents collect the necessary expertise, develop a regulatory solution, and implement it through legislative and executive processes. The uncertainties, complexities, interconnectedness, multiple layers, and the numerous consequences of any (regulatory) solution necessitate a governance approach that recognizes these problem characteristics (Voß and Kemp 2006). As outlined in the contributions to this book, a reflexive governance approach particularly addresses these challenges.

      However, the notion of reflexive governance implies considerable...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 315-320)
    Tom Dedeurwaerdere, Eric Brousseau and Bernd Siebenhüner

    Since the publication of the ground-breaking work on global public goods by Inge Kaul and her associates a decade ago (Kaul, Grunberg, and Stern 1999; Kaul et al 2003), many political initiatives have been launched, a wide number of governance experiments have been run, and much research has been carried out at the interface of economic, political, and environmental sciences. This interdisciplinary book has looked into the new challenges in the governance of global public goods in fields of environmental concern and emerging global issues such as global health, food security, and technological risks. It condensed the knowledge that has...

  13. References
    (pp. 321-358)
  14. Index
    (pp. 359-366)
  15. Series List
    (pp. 367-368)