Global public goods (GPGs)--the economic term for a broad range of goods and services that benefit everyone, including stable climate, public health, and economic security--pose notable governance challenges. At the national level, public goods are often provided by government, but at the global level there is no established state-like entity to take charge of their provision. The complex nature of many GPGs poses additional problems of coordination, knowledge generation and the formation of citizen preferences. This book considers traditional public economy theory of public goods provision as oversimplified, because it is state centered and fiscally focused. It develops a multidisciplinary look at the challenges of understanding and designing appropriate governance regimes for different types of goods in such areas as the environment, food security, and development assistance.
The chapter authors, all leading scholars in the field, explore the misalignment between existing GPG policies and actors’ incentives and understandings. They analyze the complex impact of incentives, the involvement of stakeholders in collective decision making, and the specific coordination needed for the generation of knowledge. The book shows that governance of GPGs must be democratic, reflexive--emphasizing collective learning processes--and knowledge based in order to be effective.