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International Policy Rules & National Inequalities: Implications for Global Economic Governance

International  Policy Rules and National Inequalities: Implications for Global Economic Governance is a new project of the Columbia Global Policy Initiative led by Professors José Antonio Ocampo and Eric Helleiner. 

Rising national income and wealth inequalities are two of the dominant adverse trends that the world has experienced over the past three to four decades. Since this coincides with consolidation of the “second globalization,” an obvious question to ask is to what extent the rules that formally or informally govern the global economy—or the lack of them—are basic determinants of these trends. This implies putting together two brands of ongoing research and debates—those that relate to global rules and growing national inequalities—to analyze the interactions between the two and draw lessons of how global governance arrangements must be reformed to counteract these trends. The project aims to enhance the understanding of this issue and the associated global debate by creating a Task Force in the tradition of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University. The Task Force will have three specific outputs: a major conference involving the relevant multilateral institutions, a volume collecting the papers prepared for the project, and a stand-alone policy report that summarizes the major conclusions of the project and that will be widely disseminated among policymakers. Thus far, the project has convened two conferences—one on capital flows and a second on new paths for development. The project will organize two additional conferences in winter 2016.

Policy Goals

  • To enhance the capacity of countries to manage international capital flows in order to moderate boom-bust financial cycles
  • To regulate tax competition and improve tax cooperation, permitting countries to adopt more progressive tax systems and increase tax revenues essential to finance redistributive social policies
  • To design international investment agreements that can support the capacity of governments to introduce needed social and environmental regulation
  • To assist countries in their efforts to appropriate a larger share of natural resource rents and diversify their production base through better international trade and investment rules
  • To constrain excessive claims to intellectual property rights in order to reduce the costs of life-saving medicines, environmental protection and agricultural technologies (e.g., access to improved seeds)

Funding from the Ford Foundation and the Columbia Global Policy Initiative

North America


Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of International and Public Affairs
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