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G20 Legitimacy and Policymaking

Project description

A closer look at G20 club governance

The global agenda is influenced by agreements made by the Group of Seven (G7) of industrialised nations and the Group of Twenty (G20) of industrialised nations and emerging economies. Legitimacy and effectiveness hinges on their ability to demonstrate political leadership – as the world’s permanent steering committee – on a complex agenda that has expanded beyond core economic issues such as financial stability to incorporate issues like sustainable development, climate change, women’s empowerment and migration. The EU-funded G20LAP project will examine whether the dynamics of 'club governance' obstruct substantial change. It will also assess whether the strength of the existing consensus prescribes the extent of democratic policymaking. The results will provide valuable insight into the G-group policy forums.


This project will examine whether the shift in global economic policymaking from the G7 to the G20 has increased its democratic legitimacy and ability to accommodate discontent with economic globalisation. More specifically, I ask how we can explain the relation between more inclusive inputs to policymaking and its outcomes in terms of global financial governance.

Ten years following the shift to the G20 and with a full policy cycle behind us, this question can be answered through a multi-methods approach of semi-structured elite interviews - made possible through my years as an international policymaker at the European Central Bank - and network analysis. The interviews will complement an existing set of over 150 elite interviews, paving the way for longitudinal analysis. With support from the Data Archiving and Networked Services centre, these interviews will form a uniquely comprehensive database durably accessible to researchers.

My main proposition is that the dynamics of ‘club governance’ hamper substantive change as new members are socialized into conforming to patterns of groupthink. Nevertheless, policy changes can materialize if new topics enter the agenda framed within the boundaries of the existing ideational consensus. The strength of the existing consensus on any given subject should therefore predict to what extent the more democratic policymaking process is reflected in policy outputs.

The Sheffield Methods Institute will provide expert training in qualitative analysis. The host, SPERI, is home to established academics working on similar topics, while supervisor Professor Andrew Baker has unique expertise on G-group policy forums. This institutional fit will ensure my further development as a scholar.

This policy-relevant project will contribute to International Economics, International Relations, International Political Economy, and Political Science. The dissemination strategy will address scholars, policymakers and the general public.


Net EU contribution
€ 319 400,64
Firth court western bank
S10 2TN Sheffield
United Kingdom

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Yorkshire and the Humber South Yorkshire Sheffield
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00