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21 · JANUARY · 2020

IBEI researcher Charles Roger offers new insights into global legal transformations in his new book "The Origins of Informality”

The legal foundations of global governance are shifting, as policymakers have increasingly relied on informal international organizations as instruments of cross-border cooperation. Many have viewed the rise of these weakly-legalized institutions as an important and promising development, arguing that they are better suited to the complex issues we face today. But, in fact, we know relatively little about these bodies—why they are created, how they evolve, and whether they really can help us address current global challenges.

In The Origins of Informality, Charles Roger, Assistant Professor and Research Fellow Beatriu de Pinós at IBEI, offers a ground-breaking analysis of this phenomenon. The book advances a new approach to thinking about these institutions, presents new data revealing their extraordinary growth over time and across regions, and develops a novel theory about why states are creating them. Roger locates the origins of informality in major shifts occurring within the domestic political arenas of powerful states, explaining how these have projected outwards and reshaped the legal structures underpinning our present system of global governance. The book systematically tests this theory and offers detailed accounts of the forces behind some of the most important institutions involved in regulating the global economy. Roger concludes that many these bodies may be less effective than we may like to admit. Informality has allowed the number of institutions to grow, but has also coincided with a decline in their quality—a situation that may leave us less prepared for the next global crisis.

Published by Oxford University Press, the book should be of particular interest to scholars, students, and practitioners working in the fields of International Relations, International Organization, and International Law. It will also be an important resource for those interested in the global political economy of money, finance, international trade, and antitrust.

Charles Roger is an Assistant Professor and Beatriu de Pinós Research Fellow at IBEI. His research explores the transformations occurring in our system of global governance and how these are shaping—for better or worse—our ability to address cross-border problems. Substantively, it focuses on informal and transnational institutions in the fields of climate change, international trade, finance, and antitrust.

His research has also been published in journals like Global Policy, International Interactions, International Studies Quarterly, International Studies Review, and the Review of International Organizations.

Before joining IBEI, Charles was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. He has also worked with the United Nations and other organizations in various consulting roles, including as a member of the UN High-Level Expert Group on Climate Change, Energy and Low-Carbon Development in Africa and as a contributing author of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).