Putting Global Governance in its Place
In a world economy that is highly integrated, most policies produce effects across the border. This is often believed to be an argument for greater global governance, but the logic requires scrutiny. There remains strong revealed demand for policy and institutional diversity among nations, rooted in differences in historical, cultural, or development trajectories. The canonical case for global governance is based on two set of circumstances. The first occurs when there is global public good (GPG) and the second under “beggar-thy-neighbor” (BTN) policies. However, the world economy is not a global commons, and virtually no economic policy has the nature of a global public good (or bad). And while there are some important BTN policies, much of our current discussions deal with policies that are not true BTNs. The policy failures that exist arise not from weaknesses of global governance, but from distortions of domestic governance. As a general rule, these domestic failures cannot be fixed through international agreements or multilateral cooperation. The paper closes by discussing an alternative model of global governance called “democracy-enhancing global governance.”
This is a revised version of a paper prepared for the World Bank ABCDE conference on June 17-18, 2019 in Washington, D.C. I am grateful to the World Bank for financial support and to Robert Cook, Robert Keohane, Robert Staiger, and especially Harlan Grant Cohen for very useful feedback. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Dani Rodrik, 2020. "Putting Global Governance in Its Place," The World Bank Research Observer, vol 35(1), pages 1-18.