The global path: soft law and non-sovereigns formalizing the potency of the informal sector

Robert K. Christensen

in Linking the Formal and Informal Economy

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780199204762
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603860 | DOI:

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

 The global path: soft law and non-sovereigns formalizing the potency of the informal sector

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The Westphalian paradigm suggests that sovereign nation-states formally constitute the only legitimate institutions of international policy creation, enactment, and enforcement. This paper seeks to highlight the policy potency of nongovernmental organizations by turning to a debate that questions the relevancy of the Westphalian paradigm. One of the most contentious points in this debate is the role and legitimacy of the various actors involved in globalization. The mechanism of ‘soft law’ is discussed, which allows non-state actors to participate — in an increasingly formalized way — in policy processes traditionally and even exclusively populated by sovereign nation states. Ostrom et al.’s Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework is used to clarify the institutional implications of non-sovereigns in policy formation. Ultimately, the soft law mechanism illustrates that the informal sector is gaining access — as and through NGOs — to powerful policy networks where formal sovereignty is decreasingly relevant.

Keywords: government structure; government scope; international law; nonprofit institutions; formal sector; informal sector; shadow economy; institutional arrangements

Chapter.  7538 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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