Global Regulations for a Digital Economy: Between New and Old Challenges

Guillaume Beaumier, Kevin Kalomeni, Malcolm Campbell‐Verduyn, Marc Lenglet, Serena Natile, Marielle Papin, Daivi Rodima‐Taylor, Arthur Silve, Falin Zhang

Global Policy. May 2020 [Link]

Collective contribution following a GEM-STONES-sponsored academic workshop on "Economic Regulations in a digital world" organised in Toronto, March 2020.


Digital technologies are often described as posing unique challenges for public regulators worldwide. Their fast‐pace and technical nature are viewed as being incompatible with the relatively slow and territorially bounded public regulatory processes. In this paper, we argue that not all digital technologies pose the same challenges for public regulators. We more precisely maintain that the digital technologies’ label can be quite misleading as it actually represents a wide variety of technical artifacts. Based on two dimensions, the level of centralization and (im)material nature, we provide a typology of digital technologies that importantly highlights how different technical artifacts affect differently local, national, regional and global distributions of power. While some empower transnational businesses, others can notably reinforce states’ power. By emphasizing this, our typology contributes to ongoing discussions about the global regulation of a digital economy and helps us identify the various challenges that it might present for public regulators globally. At the same time, it allows us to reinforce previous claims that these are importantly, not all new and that they often require us to solve traditional cooperation problems.



This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.