Home > Global Governance > Research > Global Governance


Global Governance

Page Contents >

The Global Governance programme began in 2003 with a grant from the Ford Foundation. The programme has several interrelated theoretical, empirical and normative aims. Global Governance is not government but an international framework of principles, rules and laws, and the set of institutions that uphold them, which are needed to tackle global problems.

Theoretically, the programme aims to:

  • Establish a rigorous conception and typology of global governance
  • Construct an account of emergent international and transnational authority structures and the changing nature and form of authority relations

Empirically, the programme aims to:

  • Trace the shift from government to multilayered global governance, mapping the significance and extent of public, private and mixed governance arrangements beyond the state;
  • Assess the evidence that global governance signals the emergence of new forms of authority system;
  • Document in respect of five policy studies the primary modes, institutions and mechanisms of global rulemaking and implementation;
  • Identify from the policy studies some of the principal conditions that hinder or sustain effective and accountable global governance.

Normatively, the programme aims to:

  • Consider how democratic norms such as transparency, accountability and participation might be embedded in global policy-making institutions;
  • Assess the relevance of innovative institutional designs and participatory practices for the conduct of effective global governance.

The research programme aims, in short, to map the transformation of political authority in the global system, and to generate specific proposals for enhancing both the effectiveness and the accountability of all aspects of global governance. The five key domains of global public policy being examined are the promotion of international financial stability, the creation and enforcement of rules in international trade, the fight against global infectious diseases, the elimination of the exploitation of child labour, and the promotion of basic human rights to physical security. In each of these policy domains, the project compares established and new forms of global governance along the dimensions of effectiveness and accountability.

The systematic investigation of the governance arrangement operating in the five issue areas will enable the researchers to gain new insights into crucial questions such as the transparency and responsiveness of supranational and transnational decision-making, the relationship and conflicts between the developed world and the developing world, the blurring of the distinction between public authority and private initiative that is taking place in a number of new sites of power, and the roles and impact of global civil society groups in transnational policy-making and public goods provision. The result will be a set of recommendations and guidelines for reforming global institutions in ways that will enhance their legitimacy and responsiveness to the interests and needs of the broadest range of stakeholders, especially those who are most vulnerable.

The programme is now well advanced; all of the case studies are complete and over a thousand interviews have been conducted. The study represents the largest undertaken in the area of global governance and perhaps one of the largest in European political science. A major new book and several journal articles will present the findings.


Global Institutional Design (GID)
This project aims to generate proposals for enhancing both the effectiveness and the accountability of global governance in five key domains of global public policy.

Global Policy
Global Policy is an innovative and interdisciplinary journal bringing together world class academics and leading practitioners to analyse both public and private solutions to global problems and issues. It was launched in January 2010, supported by LSE and Wiley Blackwell and is based at LSE Global Governance. The journal is edited by David Held, Patrick Dunleavy and Eva Maria Nag. 

Handbook of Innovation in Transnational Governance
The Handbook of Innovation in Transnational Governance seeks to catalogue the growing phenomenon of transnational governance in order to provide a firm empirical basis for research and practice. Currently the lead researchers on this project are in the process of producing a handbook from their findings, which will provide a comprehensive guide to transnational governance for academics, students and policy makers.

Human Rights Futures Project
|The Human Rights Futures Project explores and analyses the future direction of human rights discourse in the UK and elsewhere. The project particularly focuses on  monitoring and evaluating the impact of the UK's Human Rights Act (HRA) inside and outside the courts to chart the evolving nature of human rights and challenge its characterisation as a technical, legalised discourse, focused solely on the relationship between the individual and the state.

Global Policy: Power, Governance and Accountability
|This project has been conducted over several years and is coming to an end. Several articles have been published and are in preparation, but the main output of the project is a book nearing completion and provisionally entitled: 'Global Policy: Power, Governance and Accountability'.

The Complexity of Global Policies: Measurement Methodologies and Application to Global Health Policy
|This one-year project is funded by the French Development Agency. The project has two aims. First, it will provide a conceptualisation of complexity in global policy making and develop operational criteria for its empirical measurement. Second, the project will conduct a statistical analysis of the impact of policy complexity on global health outcomes.

Sustainable RIO: sustainable development reflexive inputs to world organisation
As a collaborative project, Sustainable RIO involves a number of academic partners rethinking globalisation in the light of sustainable development.

Intellectual Property Rights Reform
This project investigates how global civil society frames the intellectual property rights reform agenda.

Kuwait Programme on Globalisation and Democratisation in the Gulf States
A ten year multidisciplinary programme that focuses on topics such as globalisation, economic development, diversification of and challenges facing resource rich economies, trade relations between the Gulf States and major trading partners, energy trading, security and migration. The Programme generally focuses on the states that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. See the programme's website| for further information.