What role do institutions play in the creation of development norms?

Sabine Spangenberg, Richmond Professor of Economics has been working jointly on this question with her colleague Edward S Cohen from Westminster College, US (Professor of Political Science). They recently presented a paper at the World International Network for Institutional Research WINIR Conference on Inclusive Societies in Lund, Sweden.

The paper compares two contrasting normative frameworks developed by UNCITRAL and CSocD to see to what degree they can be combined to create a multi-dimensional view of development.  For many critical analysts, this is not possible.  From this perspective, as long as market relationships dominate international and domestic flows of investment and production, attempts to remedy the resulting inequality and social deprivation will only be “after-the-fact” adjustments that will not get to the root of the problem.   In this paper, we begin the investigation by identifying the major alternatives, examining how they are constructed in the context of the UN system, and attempt to frame the debate in a more analytically precise way.  Our conclusion is that, while there are more potential areas of overlap and shared understanding than we had anticipated, in the end the differences between these frameworks can never be totally reconciled in theory or practice.  The paper also considers the impact of this conclusion for the promotion of inclusive and equitable models of “development.”