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Emerging Powers in Global Governance

In the last decade, policymakers and academic research have been increasingly discussing the new role of emerging countries in the world economy and in global governance. Countries such as Brazil, India, China and South Africa as well as Germany and Japan have been assigned a greater influence in economic as well as political matters in their regions and in world politics. The reasons for the assignment of a new role to these states are their demographic and geographic size, their growing economic and military capacities, and their political aspirations. The countries defined here under the rubric of emerging powers dominate their neighbors in terms of power over resources , that is, population, territory, military capacity, and gross domestic product. In addition, they articulate a wish to change the distribution of power in the international system and assume leadership roles in global governance.

This increased ambition became visible, for instance, with the bid made by Brazil, India, Germany and Japan for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as well as in the first two countries leading role in the founding of the Group of 20 (G 20) at the Cancùn meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In addition to striving for more influence in international institutions, emerging powers sometimes engage in increasing their autonomy vis-a-vis established powers and pursue regional alternatives to global governance. Two researchers investigate the role of emerging powers in global governance: Stefan A. Schirm and Laura Carsten.

EISA 2017 Section on Emerging Powers in Global Governance: Stefan Schirm and Jörn Gottwald chaired a section with 35 papers on 'Emerging Powers in Global Governance' at EISA's 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations in Barcelona, 13-16 September 2017 [Conference website]

Programme SGIR Panel in Stockholm in September 2010: Please note the programme of the panel on 'Emerging Powers in Global Financial Governance' chaired by Stefan A. Schirm and Laura Carsten at the Conference of the Standing Group of International Relations (SGIR) of the ECPR in Stockholm, September 8-11, 2010  [programme] [call for papers]

Emerging Power's Leadership and Potential Followers

Stefan A. Schirm focuses on the gap between emerging power's aspirations and their ability to reach their goals. For instance, Brazil, India, Germany and Japan did not succeed in their aim to attain permanent seats in the UNSC. Likewise, the G 20 did not succeed in liberalizing industrialized countries markets for agricultural products. Schirm's argument is that it is essentially the inability of emerging powers to gain followership for their leadership projects that weakens their role in global governance. His argument is that potential followers will only support emerging power ambitions if the interests and the ideas of potential followers are included in the leadership project. Results of his research include the following papers:

Stefan A. Schirm: Global politics are domestic politics: How societal interests and ideas shape ad hoc groupings in the G20 which supersede international alliances, paper prepared for the International Studies Association (ISA) Convention in Montreal, Canada, March 16-19, 2011 [article as PDF]

Stefan A. Schirm: Leaders in Need of Followers: Emerging Powers in Global Governance, in: European Journal of International Relations, 16 (2010) 2, pp. 197-221 [article as PDF]

Stefan A. Schirm: Brazil's rise as an Emerging Power: Implications for the US and Europe, paper delivered at the SAIS Johns Hopkins University's conference on Emerging Powers, Washingston DC, June 1-2, 2009 [paper as PDF] [SAIS-JHU homepage]

Stefan A. Schirm: Emerging Power Leadership in Global Governance: Assessing the Leader - Follower Nexus for Brazil and Germany, paper prepared for the European Consortium for Political Research ECPR Joint Session Workshop No. 9 "The Rise of (New) Regional Powers", Helsinki, May 7-12, 2007 [paper as pdf]

Stefan A. Schirm: Leadership in Regional and Global Politics: Why Do Emerging Powers (Sometimes) Fail to Reach Their Goals? Paper prepared for the workshop "The Rise of (New) Regional Powers in Regional and Global Politics", German Institute for Global and Area Studies GIGA, Hamburg, December 11-12, 2006 [paper as pdf]

Stefan A. Schirm: Die Rolle Brasiliens in der globalen Strukturpolitik, Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik DIE, discussion paper no. 16, Bonn 2007 [paper as pdf] [also available at:]

Stefan A. Schirm: Führungsindikatoren und Erklärungsvariablen für die neue internationale Politik Brasiliens, in: Lateinamerika Analysen 4 (2005) 11: 107-130 [article as pdf]

Emerging Powers and the Bretton Woods Institutions: Reform or Substitution?

Laura Carsten focuses on the strategic choices of two emerging powers, Brazil and India, vis-a-vis the World Trade Organization (WTO). The research attempts to explain the role played by political ideas, including autonomy, influence, affiliation, and neutrality, and economic interests, such as liberalization, protection, economic cooperation, and economic isolation, in determinig emerging powers' decisions to substitute, reform or use the WTO. Preliminary results can be found in the following documents:

Laura Carsten: Global Governance Reform and Emerging Powers: Brazil, India and the WTO Dispute Settlement, paper presented at the ISA International Conference, Montreal, Canada, March 16-19, 2011 [paper as PDF]

Laura Carsten: Detaching "Emerging" from "Power": Brazil and India at the WTO Mini-Ministerial in 2008, paper presented at the SGIR 7th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, September 9-11, 2010, Stockholm, Sweden.[paper as pdf]

Laura Carsten: Detaching "Emerging" from "Power": Brazil and India at the WTO Ministerial in 2008, Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, Working Paper BOPIR 1/2010, Bamberg. [working paper]

Laura Carsten: Emerging Powers and the World Trade Organization: Explaining Strategic Substitution, paper presented at International Studies Association-South Annual Conference, Oct. 2009, Nashville, Tennessee. Panel: New Patterns of Global Cooperation (Chair: Laura Carsten). The article is available under the following link: [here]

Laura Carsten: India, Asia and the World Trade Organization: Are Regional Initiatives Moving into Global Governance's Territory? Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, Working Paper BOPIR 9/2009, Bamberg. [working paper].

Laura Carsten: Emerging Powers in the IMF and the WTO: New Alternatives or Reform? in: ifo Schnelldienst, no. 15/2008 [paper as pdf]

Laura Carsten: Emerging Powers in the IMF and WTO: Substitution or Reform? Presentation prepared for the conference "Global Economic Governance", Akademie für Politische Bildung, Tutzing, 12 July 2008 [presentation as pdf] [also see:]