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Institutional Choice in a Changing World

Ahmed Ayed

benjamin faude and kenneth abbott

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Institutional Choice in a Changing World

About Prof. Kenneth Abbott, Dr. Benjamin Faude, and this TKS episode:

Prof. Kenneth Abbott is a Professor of Law at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and Dr. Benjamin Faude is London School of Economics Fellow in Global Politics. In this episode of The Know Show Podcast, they draw on multiple case studies to illustrate their work on cooperation problems, for example sustainability and climate change, explaining what this means and how their research unpacks this.

 

A brief synopsis:

To begin, they discuss what brought them together, and how they started working together. They detail how they met at a conference held at Princeton University in 2016, and collaborated from this moment on.

Kenneth then begins to explore the areas that he is more interested in. He discusses two papers that they have authored together; the paper on choosing low-cost institutions in global governance can be found here, and that on hybrid institutional complexes in global governance here. He explains that both papers are based on new kinds of institutions, and how they interact with others. This leads him onto discussing problem areas for institutions, such as climate change, global health, and financial reputation. Key to both of their interests lies in the explanation of different kinds of institutional arrangements, for which they have created a governance triangle to understand better:

We created a figure called the governance triangle, that’s designed to show different kinds of institutions, one of the points is state-sponsored governance arrangements, one of them is business-sponsored governance arrangements and one of them is civil society sponsored.

Prof. Kenneth Abbott

 

Benjamin then begins to expand on what contributes to a cooperation institutional problem, talking about climate change, money laundering, and financial stability. Kenneth focuses more on climate change as an example, where private organisations have been created and to try and reduce climate change where wider frameworks have been ineffective, discussing where these organisations get their support. He describes how western states, for example the UK and US have sponsored and worked with private standard organisations.

Kenneth then begins to explain how he was drawn towards studying governance, having started out as a lawyer. He talks about how he read a book about game theory while he was teaching international law. It explained how game theory could be applied to help with difficult cooperation problems, and he wanted to take this further.

Benjamin then expands on his entry into this field. He details interest in politics and social phenomena which lead him into political science. He also talks about his doubts when he first started studying political science.

Both Kenneth and Benjamin use the discussion of their own experiences to show the positives of interdisciplinary research, and they offer some advice for people who are interested in this field and want to study it.

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TKS take home points:

Throughout this TKS episode, it became clear that global governance involves much more than only state-based institutions, and that these processes and players are always changing. They show how important it is to look beyond state-based institutions to to able to fully analyse the dynamics among the many institutions that exist today, those newly emerging, and where this will go in the future.

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