This special report explores the role of emerging-country members in the Basel process, a key aspect of global financial standard setting. It argues that this process has been significantly more politically resilient than adjacent aspects of global economic governance, in part because major emerging countries have perceived continuing “intra-club” benefits from participation within it. Most important among these are learning benefits for key actors within these countries, including incumbent political leaders. Although some emerging countries perceive growing influence over the international financial standard-setting process, many implicitly accept limited influence in return for learning benefits, which are valuable because of the complexity of contemporary financial systems and the sustained policy challenges it creates for advanced and emerging countries alike. The importance of learning benefits also differentiates the Basel process from other international economic organizations in which agenda control and influence over outcomes are more important for emerging-country governments. This helps to explain the relative resilience of the Basel process in the context of continued influence asymmetries and the wider fragmentation of global economic governance. The report also considers some reforms that could further improve the position of emerging countries in the process and bolster its perceived legitimacy among them.

  • Andrew Walter is professor of international relations in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne and a senior fellow in the Melbourne School of Government.