Reflexive Governance for Global Public Goods

From Politics, Science, and the Environment

Reflexive Governance for Global Public Goods

Edited by Eric Brousseau, Tom Dedeurwaerdere and Bernd Siebenhüner

Governance challenges and solutions for the provision of global public goods in such areas as the environment, food security, and development.





Governance challenges and solutions for the provision of global public goods in such areas as the environment, food security, and development.

Global public goods (GPGs)—the economic term for a broad range of goods and services that benefit everyone, including stable climate, public health, and economic security—pose notable governance challenges. At the national level, public goods are often provided by government, but at the global level there is no established state-like entity to take charge of their provision. The complex nature of many GPGs poses additional problems of coordination, knowledge generation and the formation of citizen preferences. This book considers traditional public economy theory of public goods provision as oversimplified, because it is state centered and fiscally focused. It develops a multidisciplinary look at the challenges of understanding and designing appropriate governance regimes for different types of goods in such areas as the environment, food security, and development assistance.

The chapter authors, all leading scholars in the field, explore the misalignment between existing GPG policies and actors' incentives and understandings. They analyze the complex impact of incentives, the involvement of stakeholders in collective decision making, and the specific coordination needed for the generation of knowledge. The book shows that governance of GPGs must be democratic, reflexive—emphasizing collective learning processes—and knowledge based in order to be effective.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262017244 382 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 8 figures


$34.00 X ISBN: 9780262516983 382 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 8 figures


Eric Brousseau

Eric Brousseau is Professor of Economics at the University Paris Dauphine and at the European University Institute.

Tom Dedeurwaerdere

Tom Dedeurwaerdere is Professor of Philosophy of Science and Governance at Université catholique de Louvain at Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Bernd Siebenhüner

Bernd Siebenhüner is Professor of Ecological Economics at Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany.


  • In this remarkably rich, comprehensive, and thoughtfully crafted book, the editors have assembled an excellent set of contributed chapters that cover the central issues at play in the title. Their guides and summaries to the main arguments by the distinguished list of contributors are clear and useful, and the book's focus on a range of economic, political, and social perspectives make it a valuable contribution to the literature for people interested in the crucial issues in the governance of public goods in a variety of contexts.

    Ilan Chabay

    Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany; Professor and Senior Fellow, Helmholtz Alliance on Sustainability and Social Compatibility of Future Energy Infrastructure, University of Stuttgart, Germany

  • This is essential reading for environmentalists, economists and political scientists concerned with mitigating the serious damages to human welfare and well-being that result from uncontained negative global externalities in many forms—climate instability, pandemic contagious disease, systemic financial risk, threats to biodiversity and ecological integrity, and still others that will beset us.

    Paul A. David

    Stanford University

  • This book joins European thinking about reflexivity with new approaches to governance originating in North America to develop new perspectives on the supply of global public goods. In the process, it moves the discourse on this increasingly important subject well beyond the confines of earlier thinking focused on the free-rider problem and dominated by the assumptions of neo-classical microeconomics.

    Oran R. Young

    Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California