Networks, Standards, and Network-and-Standard-Based Governance

Kevin Werbach, ed., After the Digital Tornado (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming)

21 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2019

See all articles by Julie E. Cohen

Julie E. Cohen

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: October 31, 2018


Over the last half century, institutions for transnational economic governance have multiplied. Although networked governance institutions differ from each other in many ways, they share a common structure: they are organized as networks constituted around standards. Each of the scholarly literatures that has grown up around the various institutions described in this chapter has grasped some essential aspects of the network-and-standard dynamic but not others. This chapter juxtaposes the various networked governance processes and treats them explicitly as iterations of a new — or, more precisely, emergent — legal-institutional form. It also considers the relationship(s) between that institutional form and new platform entities that wield enormous de facto power — though not yet formally acknowledged governance authority—based on their control of infrastructures and protocols for networked, social communication.

Keywords: networks, standards, institutions, governance, trade, transnational law, platforms, internet

JEL Classification: K33, K40

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Julie E., Networks, Standards, and Network-and-Standard-Based Governance (October 31, 2018). Kevin Werbach, ed., After the Digital Tornado (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming), Available at SSRN:

Julie E. Cohen (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9871 (Phone)
202-662-9411 (Fax)


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