Fault Lines and Issue Linkages at the G20: New Challenges for Global Economic Governance

The G20 emerged at the center stage of global economic governance in 2008. At the time, it was designed to be an inclusive and effective intergovernmental body. However, we find evidence of a slowdown of the G20's development by tracing the evolution of the G20 agenda during the seven summits held to date. We argue that the principle reason for the lack of progress is that the expansion of the issues covered by this international organization created new dividing lines among G20 members and also made preexisting ones more salient. Rather than reaching increasingly shallow consensus on a wider a range of issues, state leaders should sharpen the G20 agenda, avoid politicization, and frame issues in ways that prevent the formation of opposition along national lines.

On the G20 agenda, financial stability, which can be achieved through technocratic solutions of prudential regulation, should be separated from the much more political issue of macroeconomic management.
The reform of the global financial regulatory framework may best be negotiated among actors with a long time horizon. Because politicians have short time horizons due to their re-election concerns, regulators and other lowerlevel government officials should be the central agents to shape the discussion with the help of independent experts
Developing countries should carry on an equal weight of balancing the agenda and see to it that the decisions reached through the G20 summits have coherence.