In a large research project on megaregulation and international legal ordering convened at NYU Law School, we examine the implications for legal and regulatory governance of the conflictual politics and contending narratives of globalization, in which megaregional ordering projects and related economic agreements have played a major part.

In the first phase of the project we focused on the framing, substance, and exclusions of proposed megaregional agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). We looked at the narratives of globalization these agreements embraced, the objections to them, and their relations to projects of economic and geopolitical ordering. We have examined in detail the intended effects of trade and investment agreements on national systems of regulation and the consequences for the relative power and agency of actors therein. We have also analyzed intended and unintended effects on third parties, particularly developing countries, whose interests were not directly taken into account during the negotiations. These two themes are the foundation for our book Megaregulation Contested: Global Economic Ordering After TPP (Oxford University Press 2019).

The next stage of the project seeks to construct a human-capabilities based normative framing for analyzing, developing, and critiquing megaregulation and ordering, whether agreement based or not, in the context of the current and incipient politics of globalization. What are the advantages and drawbacks of future public, public-private, or private regulation and legal ordering? What role has regulation—and in particular a conception of regulation focused on negative externalities and market failures to the exclusion of distributive consequences—played in globalization? What are potential reforms to institutional and regime design which respond to normative consideration but also take into account the modern political economy of global regulation, the uneven ability of actors to participate, challenge, and contribute to global regulatory governance?