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The Politics of Global Regulation

The Politics of Global Regulation

Walter Mattli
Ngaire Woods
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    The Politics of Global Regulation
    Book Description:

    Regulation by public and private organizations can be hijacked by special interests or small groups of powerful firms, and nowhere is this easier than at the global level. In whose interest is the global economy being regulated? Under what conditions can global regulation be made to serve broader interests? This is the first book to examine systematically how and why such hijacking or "regulatory capture" happens, and how it can be averted.

    Walter Mattli and Ngaire Woods bring together leading experts to present an analytical framework to explain regulatory outcomes at the global level and offer a series of case studies that illustrate the challenges of a global economy in which many institutions are less transparent and are held much less accountable by the media and public officials than are domestic institutions. They explain when and how global regulation falls prey to regulatory capture, yet also shed light on the positive regulatory changes that have occurred in areas including human rights, shipping safety, and global finance. This book is a wake-up call to proponents of network governance, self-regulation, and the view that technocrats should be left to regulate with as little oversight as possible.

    In addition to the editors, the contributors are Kenneth W. Abbott, Samuel Barrows, Judith L. Goldstein, Eric Helleiner, Miles Kahler, David A. Lake, Kathryn Sikkink, Duncan Snidal, Richard H. Steinberg, and David Vogel.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3073-2
    Subjects: Political Science, Law, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xviii)
    Walter Mattli and Ngaire Woods

    Just as our project on the Politics of Global Regulation was nearing its conclusion, a global financial crisis erupted. It began with the rapid increase of defaults in subprime mortgages in the United States and a few other countries and quickly spread across highly intertwined financial markets, affecting millions of people. What went wrong? Who is to blame?

    Broadly speaking, two related factors explain the latest global financial fiasco: inadequate regulation that generated a mismatch between private reward and public risk; and failure of regulators to comply with their supervisory duties.

    Global banking regulation has been inadequate. Banks have long...

  5. CHAPTER ONE In Whose Benefit? Explaining Regulatory Change in Global Politics
    (pp. 1-43)
    Walter Mattli and Ngaire Woods

    Few topics are as central and of consequence to the lives and well-being of individuals as regulation, broadly defined as the organization and control of economic, political, and social activities by means of making, implementing, monitoring, and enforcing of rules. Regulation is increasingly global as elements of the regulatory process have migrated to international or transnational actors in areas as diverse as trade, finance, the environment, and human rights. This trend has triggered a fierce debate among economists about the impact of global regulation. On one side, Joseph Stiglitz argues that the rules of the game have been set largely...

  6. CHAPTER TWO The Governance Triangle: Regulatory Standards Institutions and the Shadow of the State
    (pp. 44-88)
    Kenneth W. Abbott and Duncan Snidal

    Who should regulate global production? While the state traditionally has been viewed as the appropriate overseer of domestic business activity, the scale and structure of contemporary global production challenge the capacity of even highly developed states to regulate activities that extend beyond their borders. Many developing states lack even the capacity to regulate domestically. Such difficulties have led to calls for alternative forms of governance: “above” the state, in the form of international regulation,¹ and “below” the state, in the form both of nongovernmental organization (NGO) efforts to challenge state regulation and of business initiatives for self-regulation.

    These issues are...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Filling a Hole in Global Financial Governance? The Politics of Regulating Sovereign Debt Restructuring
    (pp. 89-120)
    Eric Helleiner

    Most countries with market-based economies have developed formal regulatory mechanisms, in the form of bankruptcy laws, to facilitate the orderly restructuring of unsustainable debts owed to private creditors within their territories. It is widely recognized that these mechanisms serve important public good functions at the national level. By imposing a standstill on payments, they can prevent creditors from engaging in a destructive “rush to the exit” when debtors are suffering financial difficulties. Equally important, they outline clear procedures for fostering the speedy and orderly restructuring of debts when necessary that can benefit debtors and creditors alike.

    Why, then, has there...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR From State Responsibility to Individual Criminal Accountability: A New Regulatory Model for Core Human Rights Violations
    (pp. 121-150)
    Kathryn Sikkink

    Although the term “regulation” is rarely used in the literature on human rights, the core issues in the human rights area involve “making, implementing, monitoring, and enforcing of rules” to organize and control activities, which is the definition of regulation used in this volume. The concept is thus a useful and not unfamiliar way to think about standard-setting and rule enforcement in the human rights realm.

    The area of human rights has experienced a dramatic increase in international regulation in the post–World War II period. In 1945, this area was virtually unregulated; by 2000, states had ratified many treaties...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE The Private Regulation of Global Corporate Conduct
    (pp. 151-188)
    David Vogel

    This chapter explores the dynamics of regulatory change associated with new forms of transnational non-state governance designed to make global firms more responsible and accountable.¹ It begins by defining “civil regulation,” describing its growth and placing its development, structure, and purposes in a broader historical and institutional context. It then explains the development of civil regulation as a response to the shortcomings of the global and national governance of global firms and markets. The “demonstration effects” associated with these perceived policy failures have in turn created a demand for the development of new regulatory vehicles to control the social conduct...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Racing to the Top . . . at Last: The Regulation of Safety in Shipping
    (pp. 189-210)
    Samuel Barrows

    The regulation of safety in shipping has increased dramatically over the past forty years. Although the industry has always been hazardous, as late as the 1960s there was little effective regulation. Today, nearly fifty international conventions and agreements exist, widely enforced by numerous regulators.

    For centuries every ship has been obliged to register with and fly the flag of a state, which has then been responsible for its regulation. Until recently such regulation was extremely limited; however, in the 1970s, a number of major conventions were negotiated. In the 1980s, European states started to enforce these conventions for the ships...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN Regulatory Shift: The Rise of Judicial Liberalization at the WTO
    (pp. 211-241)
    Judith L. Goldstein and Richard H. Steinberg

    International trade transactions are among the most regulated activities in the world. Indeed, the history of international trade since the seventeenth century cannot be understood without accounting for the changing ways by which public authority has interacted with, and influenced, private transactions.¹ In the contemporary era, we have witnessed a significant change in the locus of that regulation, from country-specific policies to rule-setting on the global, multilateral level, primarily through the emergence and evolution of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization.²

    A specific change in global regulation has taken place in recent years. We...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT Economic Integration and Global Governance: Why So Little Supranationalism?
    (pp. 242-276)
    Miles Kahler and David A. Lake

    Economic models of international governance predict that greater levels of global economic integration are likely to produce changes on two institutional dimensions. The site of governance should shift from the national to the regional and global levels as states pool their decisionmaking powers. At the same time, delegation to supranational institutions should be favored for managing the governance requirements of a more integrated economic order. Not only should states coordinate their responses to global challenges, the gains from specialized governance and the need for enhanced credibility and dispute resolution should also lead states to transfer authority to supranational agents.


  13. List of Contributors
    (pp. 277-278)
  14. Index
    (pp. 279-289)