Should We Give Up on Global Governance?

25 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2018

Date Written: December 2018


Two decades after the high point of global governance in the mid-1990s, hopes that globalisation would be buttressed by a system of global rules and a network of specialised global institutions have been dashed by a series of setbacks. This retreat from multilateralism can be attributed in part to political developments in individual countries. But such factors hide a series specific roadblocks to global governance: the growing number and diversity of countries involved; the mounting rivalry between the US and China; doubts about globalisation and the distribution of the associated benefits; the obsolescence of global rules and institutions; imbalances within the global governance regime; and increased complexity.

Demand for global governance has not diminished, but support for binding multilateral arrangements has. Thus, the narrow path ahead is to establish a sufficient, critical multilateral base for flexible arrangements and to equip policymakers with a precise toolkit for determining, on a field-by-field basis, the minimum requirements for effective collective action.

Keywords: Global governance, Multilateralism, Public goods, Collective action, International organization, Institutions and policy-making

Suggested Citation

Pisani-Ferry, Jean, Should We Give Up on Global Governance? (December 2018). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2018/65, Available at SSRN: or

Jean Pisani-Ferry (Contact Author)

European University Institute ( email )

Villa Schifanoia
133 via Bocaccio
Firenze (Florence), Tuscany 50014

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