Design of Financial Governance – DEFIGO (DFG, Sept 2017 to Aug 2020)
Global financial market regulation exhibits institutional variation across issue areas and sectors. For example, minimum capital requirements for banks are sponsored by the BCBS, a transgovernmental body of central bankers, while accounting principles are developed by a private body, the IASB. Some institutions, like the intergovernmental IMF promulgate (more) binding rules, while others, like the IASB rely on voluntary regulations. We ask: (1) which institutional designs can be distinguished? (2) How has institutional variation developed over time? (3) How can we explain the variance of institutional design?
(1) We analyze two design features: (a) types of institutional actors, and (b) legalization. With respect to (a) we distinguish between public and private actors on the one hand and cabinet level (non-delegated) or independent/administrative (delegated) actors on the other, yielding four types of actor forms: intergovernmental, transgovernmental, transnational, and transnational public-private (PPP). With respect to (b) we focus on the hardness and softness of regulations.
(2) We develop a theoretically informed coding scheme to measure these two attributes, plus a number of institutional features of general interest and compile a new Design of Financial Governance Dataset (DEFIGOD) for all institutions of global financial regulation that can be identified at different points in time between the early 1960s and today. Based on this dataset the project systematically tests a number of relevant descriptive hypotheses.
(3) In order to explain the institutional design choices, we develop several hypotheses. Preliminary hypotheses include the following: (a) With respect to institutional type, we look at (i) economic power, (ii) institutional capacity of national regulatory bodies, (iii) resource dependence, and (iv) considerations of political opportunity. Concerning legalization, our hypotheses are based on (i) the severity of credible commitment problems, (ii) the severity of distributive conflict, (iii) power differentials among institutional designers and (iv) complexity of the respective issue area. On the basis of these hypotheses we develop conditions that can be linked to the two outcomes of interest. The analysis is carried out as a fuzzy-set QCA.
This project contributes to the literatures on “new modes of governance” and on legalization and extends them to the realm of global financial governance. Works in these areas have mostly been single case studies or focused on a small number of cases. In contrast, the project aims at a systematic empirical analysis on the basis of a large number of cases. Second, while a significant part of the IPE literature on global finance describes the shortcomings of international financial regulation, systematic analysis of the political determinants of these weaknesses is lacking, but is center-stage in this project and should be instrumental in any effort to re-regulate global finance.