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Hierarchy and Differentiation in International Regime Complexes: A Theoretical Framework for Comparative Research

Review of International Political Economy  | Thu, Nov 2, 2023

by Randall Henning


The landscape of global governance is increasingly crowded. In nearly every major policy domain, multilateral cooperation occurs within clusters of nested and overlapping international institutions. A growing body of research examines these ‘international regime complexes,’ establishing institutional density as a defining feature of contemporary global governance. Issue areas as diverse as trade, climate change, education and crisis finance have experienced a crowding of governance institutions over time. This increasing institutional density changes the strategic environment in which state, substate and nonstate actors interact, creating both challenges and opportunities for cooperation.

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