Table of Contents

Handbook on Theories of Governance

Handbook on Theories of Governance

Edited by Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing

In the past two decades, governance theories have arisen semi-independently across multiple disciplines. In law and regulation, planning, democratic theory, economics, public management, and international relations, among other disciplines, scholars have sought to describe new strategies of governing. As a result, the notion of governance is now one of the most frequently used social science concepts in the world. No single theory encompasses this diverse body of work, but rather multiple theories with different aims and perspectives. The Handbook on Theories of Governance collects these theories of governance together as an analytical resource for governing in an increasingly complex, fragmented and dynamic society.

Chapter 42: Transnational economic governance

Walter Mattli and Jack Seddon

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance


In this chapter, we focus on “cooptation” as a particularly salient global governance arrangement connecting governmental and non-governmental actors. States and inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) have found irresistible cause in the globalizing economy to coopt transnational governance actors (NGOs, private standard setters, and so forth) to manage the challenges of economic interdependence. The strategy of cooptation offers a means to augment global governing capacities. Yet, as Philip Selznick first showed, cooptation can have unintended consequences, shifting the locus of power and authority within a governance architecture. Following a brief literature review, we place this fertile insight in a novel analytical framework to explain when and how power moves in the much vaunted shifts from global economic “government” to “transnational governance.”

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