Mapping and Unpacking Global Governance Bodies: A Cross Sectional and Cross Organizational Analysis

Angel Saz-Carranza, Martino Maggetti, Kutsal Yesilkagit, David Coen

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review


Several recent studies have pointed to the increasing relevance of relatively informal, non-treaty-based global governance bodies (GGBs). Yet, a systematic fine-grained assessment of these bodies and their implications for global governance are still pending. To what extent, do non-treaty-based GGBs constitute a truly novel type of governance body, distinct from traditional treaty-based international organizations (IOs)? How do the distinctive features of GGBs affect their role in global governance? To what extent are GGB's patterns of emergence and development specific to policy sectors? This article tackles these questions, drawing on an original dataset on GGBs in five distinct policy areas (banking and finance, energy, global health, Internet, and migration policy). We combine a micro-organizational perspective with a meso-level network approach to unpack the main features of non-treaty-based GGBs vis-à-vis, traditional IOs. Our results provide support to the general expectation that non-treaty-based GGBs offer distinctive opportunities for global governance with respect to traditional IOs. However, importantly, this relationship is not dichotomous. We find that GGBs exist on a continuum of fit-to-purpose designs ranging from hard, formal, and intergovernmental models to a soft, informal, and multistakeholder-based form of governance. Lastly, we also find notable variations across policy areas, where global health stands out given its decentralized network structure.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbersqad040
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • global governance
  • hybrid institutions
  • international organizations


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