International 'Standards' and International Governance
Kenneth W. Abbott
Arizona State University
University of Chicago
February 10, 2001
Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 8, No. 3, p. 345-370
'Standards' are central mechanisms of international governance, but have different roles in various circumstances. These can be analyzed in terms of a simple typology. One key distinction is analytic: Contrasting the Prisoners' Dilemma structure of traditional Pigovian externalities with the Coordination structure of network externalities. The second distinction is substantive: contrasting physical or technological externalities with externalities that arise in the creation of public policy. The four resulting circumstances are typically addressed by alternative governance arrangements: varying combinations of private and public governance - according to the respective interests and competencies of the two spheres - and varying levels of gvernance - national, regional or global - according to the scope of the problem and the capacity of institutions. Our analysis of these choices is primarily positive, but the comparative institutional framework we develop is equally useful for addressing the associated normative question - how should international standards be set?
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 11, 2010
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