Subsidiarity in Global Governance

PaternosterMarkus Jachtenfuchs and I have a paper out on SSRN on ‘Subsidiarity in Global Governance‘. It is the framing paper for a symposium on the topic that will appear in early 2016 in Law & Contemporary Problems, with exciting contributions from a range of international law and international relations scholars. it concludes a project we have conducted over the last few years and forms part of a broader research endeavour on authority interfaces in global governance which we are pursuing with a group of Berlin-based colleagues. The abstract of the subsidiarity paper is below.

Jachtenfuchs & Krisch: Subsidiarity in Global Governance – Abstract
Subsidiarity has become increasingly prominent in the theory and practice of global governance and international law. It responds to a need for a principled distribution of tasks between different layers of governance and expresses a general commitment to lower-level decisionmaking at a time when many fear that international authority might be expanding too fast. The symposium which this paper introduces interrogates the prospect and limits of the subsidiarity principle in the global context, focusing on different issue areas – regional economic integration, trade and investment, human rights, and international security, as well as cross-cutting empirical and normative aspects. This framing paper situates subsidiarity among competing principles, evaluates its appeal from a normative perspective and develops a number of conjectures about its prevalence, potential and limitations based on insights from comparative politics as well as the case studies in the symposium. The picture that emerges from this inquiry is not a homogeneous one. Subsidiarity is not present or desirable in all contexts, and empirically we find significant variation across issue areas and institutional settings. But the principle is beginning to shape different areas and institutional contexts, and it holds significant promise as normative and legal guidance for institutional design and the exercise of authority in the global realm. The landscape of subsidiarity is bound to remain variegated, but the concept is gaining ground and for many actors holds much appeal as a principled way of balancing the need for strong global cooperation with a continuing emphasis on the value of local self-government.