Does Globalization Drive Policy Convergence? The Impact of International Economic and Institutional
In recent years, there is a growing interest in the study of cross-national policy convergence, which is closely related to research on globalization. Yet we still have a limited understanding of the phenomenon: Does the strong growth of economic and institutional interlinkages between nation states lead to increasingly similar policies across countries? Under which conditions can we expect that domestic policies converge or rather develop further apart? In this article, we address this research deficit. From a theoretical perspective, we concentrate on the explanatory power of two factors, namely economic interlinkage and international institutional interlinkage. In empirical terms, we analyze, if and to what extent we can observe convergence of environmental policies across 24 countries between 1970 and 2000. We observe in fact strong convergence of environmental policies over the last thirty years, as well as a clear rise in regulatory strictness. This development is mainly caused by institutional interlinkage and much less by economic integration, i.e.; it is rather an effect of global governance than of economic globalization.