IPEN — Projects

International Political Economy Network

Governance and legitimacy in carbon markets

by Matthew Paterson

This a three year research project investigating the emergence of carbon markets in a number of places as a response to climate change. It does so through the two themes of governance and legitimacy. Research on novel forms of global governance suggests that these two themes are particularly pertinent in understanding the dynamics of these mechanisms and the dilemmas their promoters face. How should such markets be governed in order to assure they pursue emissions reductions effectively? How do actors respond to recurrent claims that this sort of response is illegitimate and/or ineffective? What is required for carbon markets to achieve legitimacy?

The research pursues these questions in three ways. First, it will examine the development of carbon markets in Canada (both at federal and provincial levels), especially in comparison with similar processes in Australia and the United States. Second, it will examine the development of policy networks promoting emissions trading since the early 1990s. Third, it will examine proposals for carbon market development as they unfold as countries negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

The research will contribute to academic debates about the changing character of global governance. The research will also contribute to ongoing debates about appropriate responses to climate change.

The project is a SSHRC-funded project from 2009-2012. Matthew Paterson is the principal investigator. The other researchers are Steven Bernstein and Matthew Hoffmann, at the University of Toronto, and Michele Betsill at Colorado State University.

Diasporas and development

by Hélène Pellerin

Diasporas and development: Emigration as a factor of development is increasingly recognized in policy circles and in global financial institutions. To emigration as remittances, was added in recent years the potential of diasporas, as a source of development that is stable and promising. This is at least how it is perceived by states of origin, international organizations and even by states of destination. This research project in collaboration with professor Beveley Mullings (Geography, Queen’s University) studies the evolution of the conceptualization of diasporas in initiatives and strategies of development of less developed countries, in order to understand the place that this phenomenon occupies in the global political economy today.

Issues of perspectives in the study of International Relations

by Hélène Pellerin

Issues of perspectives in the study of International Relations. The study of perspective is constituting an increasingly important issue in IR scholarship. But so far this interest has been limited to English speaking publications, not covered in French. This project, in the form of an edited book on issues of perspectives in French, seeks to explore what other perspectives there are beyond the Anglo-Saxon views of the world. It explores  perspectives from other regions of the world and seeks to develop theoretical and epistemological thinking on this issue.

Mobility in International Political Economy

by Hélène Pellerin

Mobility in the world political economy. For many years migration and mobility have been studied in relations to governance, to regulation and controls of mobility. But the study of mobility trends from the economic side and from the conditions of production are more neglected, as if they have remained constant or  as if they only facilitate the natural inclination of people to move. This research project, still in its formulation, seeks to analyse the global organization of production and its effects on three economic sectors: agriculture, textile and garment, and the public work sector. In their global structuration, these sectors create new conditions of mobility that are then articulated and modified by people and by governments. The results of this study would serve to improve our understanding of the various dynamics of mobility and the relative influence of state regulations.

The Public as Practice: Transformations in Global Politics

By Jacqueline Best and Alexandra Gheciu (GSPIA)

Whether we look at the recent spate of public bail-outs of private financial firms in the recent financial crisis, the complex public-private partnerships that increasingly characterize international security operations, or the new emphasis on civil society actors as key to processes of global economic, security and environmental governance, it is becoming increasingly clear that the public dimensions of global governance are currently undergoing a major transformation. Although there has been much discussion among International Relations scholars about the extent to which the relationship between public and private in global governance is changing, much of that attention has been focused on the rising role of private governance, authority, and actors. This project focuses instead on the other side of the equation: our interest is primarily in the transformation of the public dimension of global governance. As we analyze that transformation, we also advance a broader claim: we argue that the very categories of public and private need to be conceptualized as a collection of culturally specific social practices, rather than as bounded realms.

This project began as a SSHRC-funded workshop and is now continuing as an ongoing collaborative project including scholars from the universities of McMaster, Waterloo, Toronto, Maryland, and UC-Irvine.

The Changing Practices of Global Economic Governance

By Jacqueline Best

Even before the recent financial crisis hit, it was becoming clear that international and national institutions were changing the practices through which they governed the global political economy. The Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s forced the International Monetary Fund to transform its surveillance and lending activities in important ways, while the failures of development assistance in the 1990s led to a reorientation in development policy at the World Bank and among donor states.

This SSHRC-funded book project examines the changes taking place in how the global economy is governed, focusing in particular on the emergence of four central governance strategies at the IMF, World Bank and among key donors: an attempt to develop new global standards, an effort to increase country ownership, a concern with risk management, and a renewed emphasis on results measurement.  Through interviews, archival research and document analysis, the research considers how these new strategies affect the objects, techniques and forms of authority deployed by these organizations, and assesses whether these new practices of governance are sustainable.

Making it Count: The European Union and the Globalization of Accounting Standards

By Patrick Leblond

Large markets tend to dominate the global economy’s governance. In the realm of global financial governance, however, the European Union (EU) has, until recently, had little influence; it is the United States that has largely dominated the setting of international financial rules and regulations. Nevertheless, by centralizing its rule-making in matters of financial regulation, the EU has managed to increase its influence vis-à-vis the US in matters of international financial governance over the last decade. The area where this change has been most visible and pronounced is international accounting standards. The current research examines the EU’s rise as a global actor in governing global finance from the perspective of accounting standards. In doing so, it studies the EU’s relationship with the US and the International Accounting Standards Board, the international organization responsible for setting international financial reporting standards (IFRS). Finally, it analyses how the EU’s adoption of IFRS in the early 2000s set the ball in motion for the globalization of accounting standards.

Who Governs Global Finance? Financial Power in the 21st Century

By Patrick Leblond

The purpose of this research project is to determine and explain the extent to which a structural shift in financial power from the north Atlantic area to Asia is taking place, whereby the governance of global finance may no longer be mainly a (northern) transatlantic affair, as it has been the case since 1945. As such, the research will provide solid ground to assess the future shape and content of global financial governance, including the role and influence of international institutions such as, for example, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Financial Stability Board, the International Accounting standards Board and the International Monetary Fund. In turn, this assessment will inform our view of the world financial system’s prospects for stability, which is a prerequisite for economic prosperity. Finally, the project will provide a better understanding of the role that middle powers like Canada do and can play in governing global finance, especially in a context where Asian countries like China and India are gaining financial power at the expense of the European Union and the United States.