Synergy and Contradiction in the Global Regulation of Trade, Development and the Environment
The purpose of my paper is to begin a discussion of overlapping policies (institutions, regulatory frameworks), where they lead and (later) why they are chosen. I want to contribute to theories about “policy integration” through a comparison of several related literatures and an analysis of the causal relations stated and implied in the Rio+20 document.
One set of literature analyses conflicts in the design and implementation of regulation at the global level, as well as collaboration to overcome these conflicts. They use concepts like “institutional integration”, “joined-up government” and “transgovernmental networks”. An example is Oberthür & Stokke (eds): Managing institutional complexity, 2011.
Another type of literature analyses the competition and step-by-step development of global policies (institutions, regulation) at the large conferences organized by the UN , focusing on the interaction of ideas and development of vague and/or contradictory concepts which almost everyone can agree on (sustainable development, green economy etc). An example is Steven Bernstein: The compromise of liberal environmentalism (2001).
I will use these literatures to reconstruct a so-called program theory of how the policies are designed to achieve their goals (or not!). A valuable contribution of a program theory is to point out hidden assumptions in the causal mechanisms. Synergies and contradictions should become more obvious.