Review of International Political Economy

As Western-led institutions of global governance adapt to global power shifts, the question of which countries dominate, and how, increasingly animates scholarship. Yet while attention has shifted from ‘Great’ to ‘Rising’ Powers, the underlying focus on market power has changed little. In this article, we shift the focus to alternative forms of power that developing countries can wield in global governance, specifically in highly technical transnational negotiations. Reconceptualising the notion of ‘regulatory capacity’, we argue that states can overcome limited market power through socio-technical resources: expertise and professional networks. These resources form the basis through which policy claims become authoritative and they enable emerging state coalitions to influence policy-making. To demonstrate this, we analyse developing countries’ involvement in standard-setting for international corporate taxation. Specifically, we study the newly established G20/OECD Inclusive Framework, an experiment where more than 140 jurisdictions participate in negotiations that were previously the preserve of OECD states. Based on unique attendance data and interviews with dozens of participants, we perform a detailed analysis of specific policy decisions, interrogating the extent and sources of developing countries’ influence. We find that socio-technical resources allow individuals from lower-income countries to achieve narrow yet significant successes, punching above their weight in global governance.


Martin Hearson

Martin Hearson is a Research Fellow at IDS, co-Research Director of the ICTD and the International Tax programme lead. His research focuses on the politics of international business taxation, and in particular the relationship between developed and developing countries. Before joining ICTD, Martin was a fellow in international political economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, teaching courses on political economy and global financial governance.

Rasmus Corlin Christensen

Rasmus Corlin Christensen's main research interest is in the political and professional foundations of the rules and practices of international taxation. He is a Postdoctoral researcher at the Copenhagen Business School and a Research Associate of the ICTD.

Tovony Randriamanalina

Tovony Randriamanalina has a PhD in International Tax Law from the University of Paris-Dauphine. Prior to her academic work, she was a Tax Official at the Malagasy Revenue Authority and is a graduate of the National School of Administration of Madagascar. She researches the appropriateness of the transfer pricing rules for the particular case of developing countries. Her presentation on this topic won the prize for the best student paper of the ATAF/ATRN inaugural conference of the African Tax Research Network on 2015.
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