From ‘club of the rich’ to ‘globalization à la carte’: evaluating reform at the OECD
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Recognising the declining weight of its members in the world economy, the OECD, formerly known as a ‘club of rich, industrialised nations’, is undergoing unprecedented organizational reform, including a more inclusive membership logic, engagement with new global players, and outreach to developing countries, all with a view to guaranteeing its continued relevance as a central actor in the task of global policy provision. Using the concepts of global public goods, clubs and models of multilateralism, this article critically evaluates the successes and limits of the OECD’s reform, arguing it is adopting a cautious approach to expansion – globalization ‘ à la carte’. Meaningful reform towards greater inclusion is apparent in the way research on non-members has been mainstreamed, and in its increased work with both emerging powers and developing countries. Limits to reform are found in institutional rigidities including its over-representation of Europe and under-representation of Asia and other continents, reflected through staff profiles and membership. These biases may in turn reduce its attractiveness as a global forum to new players, particularly, China.
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