Comparing the legitimacy and effectiveness of global hard and soft law: An analytical framework
Article first published online: 28 DEC 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Regulation & Governance
Volume 3, Issue 4, pages 400–420, December 2009
How to Cite
Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S. I. and Vihma, A. (2009), Comparing the legitimacy and effectiveness of global hard and soft law: An analytical framework. Regulation & Governance, 3: 400–420. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-5991.2009.01062.x
- Issue published online: 28 DEC 2009
- Article first published online: 28 DEC 2009
- Accepted for publication 9 September 2009.
- climate change;
- global governance;
- international law;
- international norms;
The international norms that are developed as tools of global governance can be placed on a continuum from traditional “hard law” treaties to the vaguest and voluntary “soft law.” In this article we develop an analytical framework for comparing norms on different positions along the continuum, thus for comparing international hard and soft law. We root the framework in both the rationalist and the constructivist paradigms of international relations by focusing on two overarching evaluative criteria: effectiveness and legitimacy. These broad concepts are divided into smaller building blocks encompassing mechanisms through which norms can exert influence; for example, by changing material incentives, identities, and building capacity, and by contributing to building source-based, procedural, and substantive legitimacy. We illustrate the applicability of the framework with three norm processes of varying degrees of “softness” in global climate governance.