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Globalization and Institutions

Globalization and Institutions

Redefining the Rules of the Economic Game

New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series

Edited by Marie-Laure Djelic and Sigrid Quack

This volume investigates the relationship between economic globalization and institutions, or global governance, challenging the common assumption that globalization and institutionalization are essentially processes which exclude each other. Instead, the contributors to this book show that globalization is better perceived as a dual process of institutional change at the national level, and institution building at the transnational level. Rich, supporting empirical evidence is provided along with a theoretical conceptualization of the main actors, mechanisms and conditions involved in trickle-up and trickle-down trajectories through which national institutional systems are being transformed and transnational rules emerge.

Introduction: Governing globalization – bringing institutions back in

Marie-Laure Djelic and Sigrid Quack

Subjects: economics and finance, institutional economics


Marie-Laure Djelic and Sigrid Quack The image of a ‘runaway world’ (Giddens 2000) – a very fast train without drivers going along the tracks of market and technological evolutions – will probably remain associated with the 1990s. During that decade, this image triggered essentially three kinds of reactions. First were the believers – those who observed, predicted and championed an intensifying and accelerating movement of globalization, understood as an unavoidable, ahistorical, neutral and progressive force. Then came the sceptics for whom the nation-state remained a robust structuring principle. Without denying processes of internationalization, sceptics pointed at the most to a regionalization of exchanges around three poles – Europe, Asia and the Americas. From that perspective, ideas of a ‘borderless world’ or of a ‘global village’ (McLuhan 1968; Ohmae 1990, 1995) were mere utopias. Finally, one found the critics – those who agreed that globalization was a reality in the making but did not see it as progressive. Critics pointed to the negative externalities associated with globalization, in terms of inequalities, durable growth, ecological conditions and also in terms of the reduction or destruction of diversities. Naturally those three groups had quite different ideas on how to deal with this ‘runaway world’. For believers, forces such as market competition, technological change and rationalization were bringing along wealth, development and social, if not moral, progress. Those forces hence should be set free and liberated. Political and regulatory intervention created particularly problematic hurdles and obstacles from that perspective. Globalization would not progress and push along its benefits if...