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The Governor's Dilemma – Indirect Governance Beyond Principals and Agents - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Governor's Dilemma: Indirect Governance Beyond Principals and Agents

Kenneth W. Abbott, Bernhard Zangl, Duncan Snidal, and Philipp Genschel


The Governor’s Dilemma develops a general theory of indirect governance based on the tradeoff between governor control and intermediary competence; the empirical chapters apply that theory to a diverse range of cases encompassing both international relations and comparative politics. The theoretical framework paper starts from the observation that virtually all governance is indirect, carried out through intermediaries. But governors in indirect governance relationships face a dilemma: competent intermediaries gain power from the competencies they contribute, making them difficult to control, ... More

Keywords: principal–agent, delegation, trusteeship, orchestration, cooptation, intermediaries, competence, control, indirect governance, endogenous change

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780198855057
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198855057.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kenneth W. Abbott, editor
Jack E. Brown Chair in Law and Professor of Global Studies Emeritus, Arizona State University

Bernhard Zangl, editor
Professor of Global Governance, LMU Munich

Duncan Snidal, editor
Professor of International Relations, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

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Part I Theoretical Framework

1 Competence–Control Theory

Kenneth W. Abbott, Philipp Genschel, Duncan Snidal, and Bernhard Zangl

Part II Governing Violence

4 Competence over Control

Alexander Thompson

Part III Governing Markets

8 Governing Capital Markets

Jack Seddon and Walter Mattli

9 Balancing Competence and Control

Felix Biermann and Berthold Rittberger

Part IV Implications for Democracy

13 Trump’s Dilemma

Mark A. Pollack

End Matter