The final initiative links questions of intranational inequality to international inequality. It thus forms the larger context in which the other four initiatives are embedded. Research on globalization over the past two decades has increasingly focused on examining transnational flows and emerging forms of global governance. In areas as diverse as law, economics, health, environment, criminality, and democratization, scholars have pointed to the increasing significance of global institutions and practices. Not surprisingly, the formation and functioning of these institutions have profound implications for the distribution of opportunities across and within countries.

The Watson Institute has long been a leading center of research in this area. PI and initiative coordinator Barbara Stallings’ work has focused on questions of economic governance, including directing research for nine years at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile. Her work has focused on a range of global issues, including finance for development, development strategy, and international political economy. In two recent books she has explored the impact of finance and economic reforms on economic opportunity in the developing world. Other project faculty members are also researching ways in which global institutions shape inequality in the developing world. They include the impact of global financial institutions on economic opportunity (Levine); access to and participation in global climate change governance by state, private sector, and civil society actors (Pulver); the interrelationship between political and social inequalities and the growing incidence of illicit trans-border flows (Andreas, Warren); the exclusion of academics based in the developing world from the production of social science knowledge (Snyder); and a team project by Lutz, Gutmann, and Brown that involves field research into U.N. responses to sexual exploitation and abuse among peacekeepers, focusing on the role of concepts of culture and political economy in those responses. Finally, six project faculty members (Baiocchi, Brown, Chorev, Heller, Pulver, and Snyder) are currently collaborating in a comparative assessment of why global institutional frameworks in different sectors have such varying impacts on inequality.