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This Editorial Statement sets out our editorial approach to the new interdisciplinary journal, Global Policy. It first outlines the broad but distinctive focus of ‘global policy’. Second, it explains the format and editorial philosophy of the Journal. Third, it considers the aims and outcomes of the Journal. Global Policy seeks to constitute a new field of academic research and debate while creating a high-level forum for policy makers to examine and assess the practical impact of policy at the global level.

The Journal’s Focus: What is Global Policy?

  1. Top of page
  2. The Journal’s Focus: What is Global Policy?
  3. Editorial Philosophy and Format
  4. Aims and Outcomes
  5. Author Information

The field of global policy focuses on the global as a process (or set of processes) that creates transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of activity and interaction, and the new framework of multilevel policy making by public and private actors, which involves and transcends national, international and transnational policy regimes. We define global policy as having six main foci, whose interconnections are shown in Figure 1.

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Figure 1.  The six main components of a global policy.

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1. Globally relevant risks and collective action problems of different kinds (such as common-pool resource problems) have become increasingly important as a result of the intensification of globalisation over the last five decades. In a densely interconnected world, the fortunes of multiple countries and sometimes all countries are linked and interdependent. Effective policy solutions, whether in areas of global financial markets, intellectual property rights or climate change, often require concerted and coordinated action by governments and nation states to tackle common problems. For academic research to engage effectively with these policy issues and problems, it needs to increase the scale, ambition and purposefulness of its analyses and comparisons.

2. International policy coordination is also proceeding in a wide range of areas, which do not fit into the first category above. For instance, action to promote equal rights and international standards is developing in many different kinds of policy spheres for a number of reasons, including the increasing interconnectedness of public opinion and economic forces – as when companies and western consumers seek assurance that child labour or workers’ health are being appropriately regulated in newly industrialising economies. This kind of global pooling of policy regimes has little to do with conventional international relations and requires innovative research to address it.

3. Normative theories of global governance are undergoing rapid development and change, for instance in thinking about the interplay between democracies, markets, networks and hierarchies. The institutions, informational politics and processes of modern policy making in the first decades of the 21st century will be influenced by the evolution of these ethical and imaginative debates. In addition, the emerging powers on the global stage (for instance India, China, Russia and Brazil) have often different and competing conceptions of what constitutes global order and relevant policies, and thus an opening has been created for new concepts, themes and theories in the consideration of global governance.

The current policy environment has also seen a series of strong changes in conventional ‘domestic’ policy making, frequently going beyond a single country focus in three main ways:

4. A change from national-level to ‘bloc’-level policy making is taking place in two main areas. First, in the European Union a great experiment in ‘joining up’ national policy approaches is under way, which has already introduced important changes in how the Union’s 25 component member states make public policies across many sectors. Second, we have seen the development of complex patterns of regionalism, often involving greater economic policy integration, in North and South America, the Asia-Pacific area and sub-Saharan Africa. These patterns have emerged partly as responses to globalisation, and partly as attempts to shape it.

5. A transition from single-polar to multipolar governance is under way. Innovative ideas in public policy for the past two decades have been dominated by relatively similar advanced industrial economies, with decision making largely restricted to small clubs, the G5, the G7 and G8. But the next half-century will see several regional blocs emerging, based around the EU, the USA, China, India and Latin America, and along with them multiple poles of advanced policy innovation. Each of the different regional blocs will evolve different policy approaches and styles, some of which are hard to anticipate but which are likely to have important effects. Global Policy will be a key forum for understanding and capturing the new variations quickly as they emerge.

6. Innovations in global governance in recent decades have sought to address emerging global risks and challenges. They often mark attempts to overcome weak or fragmented forms of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Specifically, these include: different forms of intergovernmental arrangements – for example the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Financial Stability Forum – embodying various levels of legislation, types of instrument utilised and responsiveness to stakeholders; an increasing number of public agencies – for example central bankers – maintaining links with similar agencies in other countries and, thus, forming transgovernmental networks for the management of various global issues; diverse business actors – for example firms, their associations and organisations such as international chambers of commerce – establishing their own transnational regulatory mechanisms to manage issues of common concern; and public bodies, business actors and NGOs collaborating on a range of developmental issues, in order to provide novel approaches to social problems through multi-stakeholders’ networks. In sum, modern policy making is shaped in far broader ways than in previous eras by a wider range of actors. In addition to formal governmental bodies, private corporations, media companies and networks, nongovernmental organisations, international and regional bloc organisations, professions and interest groups are all involved in various ways. The pluralism of actors does not imply an equivalence of power. On the contrary, contemporary interactions, and attempts at governance, take place in the context of asymmetrical interdependence, with large discrepancies in wealth, other material and nonmaterial resources, and status among countries. Asymmetrical interdependence implies unequal power. How different actors engage, interrelate and impact upon one another will also be a focus of Global Policy.

Editorial Philosophy and Format

  1. Top of page
  2. The Journal’s Focus: What is Global Policy?
  3. Editorial Philosophy and Format
  4. Aims and Outcomes
  5. Author Information

Global Policy has a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and international outlook that is committed to developing the accuracy, forward-lookingness and policy relevance of academic research. It will not privilege a particular ethnocentric approach but will reflect a multiplicity of approaches which are indicative of the emergence of a global system of multipolar governance and policy making.

The editors’ approach to selecting material will be committed to advancing the academic study of global policy and the politics in which it is embedded; open to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary contributions; reflexive in its consideration of diverse political discourses on global problems; engaged in respect of its contribution to public debate and understanding of urgent global policy issues; and serious in its commitment to the publication only of world-class academic scholarship and the work of key public and private figures or authorities.

The scope of Global Policy’s content can be specified by a number of criteria:

  • 1
     globally relevant risks and collective action problems;
  • 2
     policy challenges with global impact;
  • 3
     competing and converging discourses of global policy and governance;
  • 4
     case studies of policy with clear lessons for other countries and regions;
  • 5
     the interrelationship between policy, politics and institutions at the global level, with implications for institutional design; and
  • 6
     conceptual, theoretical and methodological innovations needed to explain and develop global policy.

The editors are committed to developing both the highest standards of scholarship and evidence-based reasoning by authors, with scholarly articles subject to rigorous peer review. We are at the same time committed to the effective communication of research in the most accessible and professional fashion. We shall use a set of editorial conventions that do not compromise on accuracy and the proper explanation of methods, but that do systematically prioritise readers’ interests in the excellent presentation of data and clarity of exposition. We shall seek to engage meaningfully with the widest range of readers and contributors both in the global public policy research fields and in major governments, international organisations, central banks, industries and NGOs dealing with global policy issues.

In order to connect world-class research with clear links to the diverse policy-making community, Global Policy will contain four types of material:

Research Articles (8,000 words) report and analyse new research, theory, interpretations and scholarly controversy.

Survey Articles (4,000 words) map the state of knowledge or policy context of particular issues. They also analyse external developments and innovations in areas that have a tangible impact on the policy environment. Survey Articles can be of two types: research and practitioners. The latter allows scope for contributions from practitioners at the cutting edge of a policy field, but who are not research based.

Practitioners’ Commentaries (1,500 words) present crisp and focused opinions by policy makers on a practical aspect of global policy change.

Reviews and Review Essays will keep all readers fully up to date with existing literature in the field.

The Journal will commission, from time to time, extensive surveys of policy-relevant data available. Interviews and debates on critical issues will also be included, both in the Journal and on its website.

The locus for most of the accepted work is likely to lie in economics, global politics, government, international law, international relations and international political economy, but equally the Journal will be permeable to and interested in a much wider range of disciplines. The six foci outlined at the beginning of this Editorial Statement also show that the Journal will cover a wide range of topics, thereby building knowledge and understanding of the many different processes contributing to the definition and evolution of global policy problems and policy making.

Aims and Outcomes

  1. Top of page
  2. The Journal’s Focus: What is Global Policy?
  3. Editorial Philosophy and Format
  4. Aims and Outcomes
  5. Author Information

The first aim of the Journal will be to offer a systematic analysis of the global policy themes set out in the first section, generating an integrated view of an area of research that is now rapidly expanding into a new academic field. The Journal will be invaluable to those working in economics, global politics, government, international law, international relations, international political economy and many other disciplines that contribute to developing global policy.

The second aim will be the production of solid and credible research that will have an impact on senior policy makers, private and public corporations, nongovernmental organisations and international bodies. The Journal’s output will also be designed to inform policy makers and academics about notable developments and changes in global policy areas.

The third aim of the Journal will be to focus on research that centres on emerging regional poles of policy innovation and governance discourse, which will be of great interest to influential policy makers across the world.

The overall objective of the Journal will be to stimulate ‘deep’ policy learning, relevant for the academy and for governments and key nongovernmental players. The Journal seeks to go beyond current forms of episodic and discontinuous comparative research and to help transcend limited and superficial forms of ‘policy transfer’ and cross-national learning. Moreover, by developing a set of well-defined and documented sectoral case studies, the Journal will provide resources for professional training with senior policy makers and in the teaching of public policy. These case studies will be problem based and generalisable. We are also interested in methodological advances that go beyond methodological nationalism and that make deep policy learning possible within the complex multipolar system that is emerging.

While the Journal will be the primary vehicle for the delivery of these aims and outcomes, it will also have a lively presence on the Internet, along with sponsored lectures and debates held in venues across the world. A book series will also deepen the scope of publication in specific policy sectors from financial market reform to global health governance and global labour standards and practices.

Author Information

  1. Top of page
  2. The Journal’s Focus: What is Global Policy?
  3. Editorial Philosophy and Format
  4. Aims and Outcomes
  5. Author Information

David Held, Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science, General Editor of Global Policy and Co-Director of LSE Global Governance, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Patrick Dunleavy, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Chair, General Editor of Global Policy and Director, MPA Programme, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Eva-Maria Nag, Executive Editor, Global Policy and Senior Research Fellow, LSE Global Governance, London School of Economics and Political Science.