Article/journal, Global governance, Munk School, Centre for the Study of Global Japan, Peace, Conflict and Justice Program, Munk One

Competition and regime complex architecture: authority relations and differentiation in international education


What are the determinants and consequences of regime complexity? We argue that characteristics of international issue areas – network effects and entry barriers – affect the degree of feasible competition, with important consequences for authority relations, institutional differentiation, and substantive outcomes. Competition tends to erode the dominance of status quo institutions, diminishing hierarchy. Differentiation under competition varies according to power and material resources: Powerful states seek to shift the status quo by introducing undifferentiated institutions, while actors with limited resources tend to target differentiated niches. Variation in substantive outcomes depends on the initial configuration of institutions, particularly which actors are originally empowered and thus stand to lose from competition. We develop this theory and test four hypotheses by examining the regime complex for international education, a substantively important but often neglected issue area.