Designing an International Economic Order: A Research Agenda
The institutions that have sustained global economic cooperation for the past 75 years are under threat. Despite admonitions that global peace and prosperity are at risk, policymakers in important countries have ignored the rules of the multilateral order and moved down the path of unilateralism and economic nationalism. What role can social scientists play in redesigning the international economic order? We offer a research agenda for contributing to the reform and improvement of global institutions. The research agenda is guided by three themes: threats, solutions, and leadership. Threats refer to the deep causes of the crisis in global institutions, not the symptoms or expressions of those problems. Solutions refers to institutional reforms required to address deep threats to the global order. Leadership addresses the challenge of coordinating efforts to supply international institutions, which can be thought of as global public goods. We demonstrate the value of this research agenda by applying it to the World Trade Organization.
We thank participants at the Princeton University IR Faculty Colloquium, the 13th annual conference on the Political Economy of International Organization, Simon Fraser University, and the Political Science Friday Speaker Series at the University of Colorado-Boulder for their helpful comments. We are particularly grateful to Duane Layton, Andrew Moravcsik, Krzysztof Pelc, Peter Rosendorff, Christina Schneider, David Steinberg, and Adalbert Winkler for their generous and constructive advice. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.