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Norms, Legitimacy, and Global Financial Governance

  • Geoffrey R D Underhill

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Xiaoke Zhang

    (University of Nottingham)

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    Despite regular and serious systemic volatility, reform of international financial architecture remains limited, retaining market-oriented characteristics and adjustment mechanisms. A failure of the architecture to focus on the political underpinnings of global financial and monetary governance yields crucial deficiencies. The article defends three propositions implying a serious challenge to political legitimacy in contemporary financial governance: i) external financial constraints conflict with a range of potential domestic, particularly democratic, political imperatives; ii) developed state initiated global financial integration strengthens private interests in the policy process, narrowing the definition of the public interest in a democratic context; iii) market-friendly institutional reforms put pressure on domestic socio-political arrangements underpinning longer run political legitimacy. The article first analyses norms and legitimacy in global financial governance; then outlines the constraints on public policy of global financial market integration in the light of the foregoing analysis of legitimacy; thirdly it discusses possible solutions.

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    Paper provided by ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London in its series WEF Working Papers with number 0013.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wef:wpaper:0013
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    1. Jens Steffek, 2000. "The Power of Rational Discourse and the Legitimacy of International Governance," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 46, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
    2. Richard Devetak & Richard Higgott, 1999. "Justice Unbound? Globalisation, States and the Transformation of the Social Bond," CSGR Working papers series 29/99, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR), University of Warwick.
    3. Devesh KAPUR & Richard WEBB, 2000. "Governance-Related Conditionalities Of The International Financial Institutions," G-24 Discussion Papers 6, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    4. Dailami, Monsoor, 2000. "Financial openness, democracy, and redistributive policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2372, The World Bank.
    5. Hurd, Ian, 1999. "Legitimacy and Authority in International Politics," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(02), pages 379-408, March.
    6. Joseph Stiglitz, 2003. "Globalization and the economic role of the state in the new millennium," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 3-26, February.
    7. Grunberg, Isabelle, 1998. "Double jeopardy: Globalization, liberalization and the fiscal squeeze," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 591-605, April.
    8. Mosley, Layna, 2000. "Room to Move: International Financial Markets and National Welfare States," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(04), pages 737-773, September.
    9. Garrett, Geoffrey, 1995. "Capital mobility, trade, and the domestic politics of economic policy," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 657-687, September.
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