Handbook on Multi-level Governance
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Handbook on Multi-level Governance

Edited by Henrik Enderlein, Sonja Wälti and Michael Zürn

Scholarship of multi-level governance has developed into one of the most innovative themes of research in political science and public policy. This accessible Handbook presents a thorough review of the wide-ranging literature, encompassing various theoretical and conceptual approaches to multi-level governance and their application to policy-making in domestic, regional and global contexts.
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Chapter 23: Transgovernmental Networks and Multi-level Governance

Anne-Marie Slaughter and Thomas N. Hale


Anne-Marie Slaughter and Thomas N. Hale Transgovernmental networks are informal institutions linking regulators, legislators, judges and other actors across national boundaries to carry out various aspects of global governance. They exhibit ‘pattern[s] of regular and purposive relations among like government units working across the borders that divide countries from one another and that demarcate the “domestic” from the “international” sphere’ (Slaughter 2004a, p. 14). They allow domestic officials to interact with their foreign counterparts directly, without much supervision by foreign offices or senior executive branch officials, and feature ‘loosely structured, peer-to-peer ties developed through frequent interaction rather than formal negotiation’ (Raustiala 2002, p. 5; see also Risse-Kappen 1995). Transgovernmental networks occupy a middle place between traditional international organizations and ad hoc communication. They have emerged organically in response to the increasing complexity and transnational nature of contemporary problems, to which they are uniquely suited, challenging the distinction between domestic and foreign policy. They appear most commonly in the realm of regulatory policy – for example, commercial and financial regulation, environmental protection – but also extend to judicial and even legislative areas of government. The concept of ‘network governance’1 overlaps with the idea of multi-level governance (MLG) that animates this volume, but only partially. Recall the definition of MLG given in the Introduction to this volume: ‘a set of general-purpose or functional units that engage durably, with some degree of autonomy, in an enduring interaction and united in a common sectoral or communal governance arrangement that enjoys autonomy of its own.’ This...

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