Governing eCommerce as a Complex System
My research explores how issues of data protection arising from the development of e-commerce are being governed. In doing so, I question the European Union's ability to shape the ‘rules of the game’ in a complex international environment. I furthermore examine how interactions between public and private regulations are influencing each other.
Through this work, I argue that international political economy scholars should go further than recognise the inherent complexity of the international realm and adopt the analytical tools put forward by complexity theory. I expect that this theoretical approach will allow me to produce an original contribution to the academic research being done on both e-commerce and global governance. It should notably contribute to critically reappraise the extensive use of neoliberal economic principles in the study of international political economy.
My research focuses on the transatlantic relations. It will focus on how the European has been abl American actors have influenced each other’s. I will moreover limit my research to the rules pertaining to data protection.
Based on my analysis, few findings may be highlighted. First, the regulation of privacy has always been the product of a complex interactions between public and private actors. Few, if any, private regulations were ever adopted purely by the industry. Second, the active engagement of the European Union with private regulators has played an important role in the diffusion of its privacy rules to the United States. In effect, industry groups have tended to exchange with their transatlantic counterparts over the years, which have helped push towards some form of uniformation of privacy law across the Atlantic, even though there still is no federal privacy law in the United States. At the same time, this form of interaction has not only had an effect on the United States. Codes of conduct or other form of self-regulations adopted in the European Union have also tended to include some rules originally present in codes adopted in the United States. This contributes to give a more nuanced picture than what is argued when talking about the “Brussels effect”. Third, despite recurring comments to the effect that industry can self-regulate, there has been relatively few cases where private actors have create new rules when public actors where not involved. This hints at the also more complex relationship that exists between public and private forms of regulation. Rather than being two opposites, they can be complementary.
Over the past 20 years, the Internet has dramatically altered the world economic landscape. Following the privatization of the Internet in the mid-1990’s, major businesses like Amazon and eBay started to use it for commercial purposes. Since then, e-commerce has been one of the fastest growing sector of the economy. In 2011, a McKinsey study found that e-commerce accounted for no less than 8 trillion US dollars of the global economy. As such, e-commerce has been a growing concern of global governance leading public actors to adopt regulations on a broad range of issues. Data protection has been one notable issue which attracted a lot of attention. The EU and other public actors have developed many rules to ensure personal data is protected. At the same time, private actors have also been engaged in developing code of conducts, best practices and standards to regulate the digital economy and protect personal data. In face of this multiplication of norms applying to data protection, one can wonder why some norms survive and become shared, while others disappear. In addition, what role can a specific actor play to shape the future of the governance of e-commerce? By looking at the capacity of the European Union to influence the governance of e-commerce, my research aims to answer both those queries.
Guillaume Beaumier currently acts as a Marie-Curie doctoral fellow, while doing his joint PhD program between the University of Warwick and Laval. Before starting his PhD studies, he obtained is master degree in international studies with honors from the University Laval. In the last year, he acted as a Junior Analyst for the trade section of the Canadian Embassy in Washington and finished his master’s essay on the evolution of the new European international investment policy. Over the years, he has also distinguished himself by participating in many activities and projects. He notably spent a year studying in Finland and did an internship in the National Assembly of Quebec. Furthermore, he worked for the International criminal and humanitarian law clinic of the University Laval and won the prize for the best litigant of the thirtieth edition of the International law moot court competition Charles-Rousseau.
Scientific Publications (*Peer-reviewed paper)
*Beaumier, Guillaume. Submitted (R&R received). “Global Regulations for a Digital Economy: Between new and old challenges'', Global Policy, submitted.
Beaumier, Guillaume. 2020. “Ruling in a Complex World: Private Regulatory Networks and the Export of European Data Protection Rules”, In Networks and the European Union: Threats and Opportunities of Complexity, eds. George Christou and Jacob Hasselbach, Routledge, forthcoming.
Beaumier, Guillaume. 2020. “Systems Analysis”, In Key Concepts in Research Methods, eds. Jean-Frédéric Morin et al., Oxford, Oxford University Press, forthcoming, , with Didier Wernli (Accepted).
*Guillaume Beaumier, “Le Traité de Lisbonne et le droit international de l’investissement : L’évolution d’un nouveau modèle européen” (The Lisbon Treaty and International Investment Law: The Evolution of a New European Model), Études internationales, 2016.
*Guillaume Beaumier and Richard Ouellet, “An uncertain future for the new European investment policy and its WTO- style liberalization in face of the Brexit”, Columbia FDI Perspectives, 2017.
*Ouellet, Richard and Guillaume Beaumier, “L’activité du Québec en matière de commerce international : De l’énonciation de la doctrine Gérin-Lajoie à la négociation de l’AECG" (Quebec’s International Trade Actions: From the Negotiation of the Gérin-Lajoie Doctrine to CETA), Revue québécoise de droit international, 2016.
Morin, Jean-Frédéric and Guillaume Beaumier, "How Green is the TPP Really? Combining Legalistic and Sectoral Approaches to the Environment", Green Growth Knowledge Platform, May 2016.
Morin, Jean-Frédéric and Guillaume Beaumier, "TPP Environmental Commitments: Combining the US Legalistic and the EU Sectoral Approaches", ICTSD BioRes, April 2016.
Ouellet, Richard, Zakaria Sorgho and Guillaume Beaumier, “La négociation de l'AECG, une évolution prévisible de la relation canado-américaine” (The negotiations of CETA: A Foreseeable Evolution of the Canado-American Relation) in C. Deblock et als (ed.), L'Accord économique et commercial global entre l'Union européenne et le Canada, Presses de l'Université du Québec, Montréal, 2015.
Beaumier, Guillaume. 2018. “Cryptocurrencies : New rules for a New Technology ?”, CEPCI Research Note, No 8a, available online at : https ://www.cepci.hei.ulaval.ca/sites/cepci.hei.ulaval.ca/files/cryptocurrenciesgame-rules_14.pdf, with Kevin Kalomeni.
Beaumier, Guillaume. 2018. Book Review: “Theories of International Political Economy” by Stéphane Paquin, Études Internationales, 48(3-4) : 535-7.
Beaumier, Guillaume. 2016. Review of : “Rethinking Private Authority : Agents and Entrepreneurs in Global Environmental Governance” by Jessica Green, Études Internationales, 47(4) : 476-77.
Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the 21st Century, published in Nuit-Blanche (literary magazine), available online: http://www.nuitblanche.com/commentaire-lecture/le-capital-au-xxie-siecle/
Academic conferences (* with peer-reviewed committee)
*Learning to Rule E-Commerce in a Complex World, ISA Annual Convention 2018, San Francisco.
*Governing eCommerce as a Complex System, GEM-STONES’ PhD Summer School, Geneva.
*The Trans-Pacific Partnership: What Lessons for Studies in International Political Economy?, 20/05/2016, SQSP Convention, Québec.
*CETA’s Investment Chapter: Between Innovation and Replication, 18/11/2016, CEIM/UQAM International Colloquium, Montréal.
Scholarships & Awards
- Marie-Curie Doctoral Fellowship (2017-2020)
- Bourses Citoyens du monde - Fondation Famille-Choquette (2017)
- Raoul-Dandurand scholarship for international internships (2016)
- Scholarship for participating in the Washington Center Program from the MRIF (2016)
- Canada Research Chair in IPE scholarship (2016)
- Jacques-Yvan Morin Prize given to the best litigant of the French international law moot court competition Charles-Rousseau (2015)
- Katia-Boustany Prize given to the finalist team of the French international law moot court competition Charles-Rousseau (2015)
- Master’s degree funding support (2014)
- Scholarship from the University Laval to study in Finland for a year (2011-2012)