Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Benchmarking in Global Governance (BiGG) Workshop

12–14 March 2014

View the programme

Please contact the organizers to register


André Broome, University of Warwick
Joel Quirk, University of the Witwatersrand

View the papers

Available to registered workshop participants only

Workshop aims

Global benchmarking involves the formulation and dissemination of a series of standardised metrics and rankings which are designed to determine how specific actors, populations and institutions have been performing in comparison to their international peers. In order to move our understanding of global benchmarking processes and practices beyond single issue areas, this project employs a multidisciplinary approach, with expert collaborators from the disciplinary fields of international law, international political economy, international security, political theory, health, and human rights.

These collaborators will address the following core research questions:

  • What factors account for the relative efficacy and influence of benchmarking in different policy domains?
  • To what extent have methodologies and strategies used in one domain ended up ‘cross fertilising’ practices and policies in other domains?
  • What types of aspirations and expectations have motivated various actors and institutions to establish global benchmarks?
  • Have these aspirations been realized in practice?
  • What types of complications and limitations are associated with quantification and codification?
  • How have different benchmarks influenced the behaviour of the actors and institutions involved?
  • How have benchmarks been taken up by third parties?

The comparative approach envisages a ‘nested’ institutional and international environment in which benchmarks in one policy domain not only tend to be influenced and insipired by their peers in other domains, but also regularly share methods, motivations and metrics. Moreover, comparative analysis will reveal underlying differences and similarities between different types of ‘benchmarkers’ (i.e. states, IOs, or NGOs), different modes of benchmarking (i.e. punitive sanctions versus reputational effects), different levels of quantification (‘hard’ data versus more subjective ‘guesstimation’), different policy domains (i.e. ‘core’ security/economic issues versus ‘soft’ human rights issues), and policy impacts (i.e. low to high behavioural impacts).


This workshop is funded by a University of Warwick International Partnership Award on Benchmarking in Global Governance.

The organizers gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Department of Politics and International Studies and the Global Research Priorities–Global Governance at the University of Warwick, as well as the European Commission Fp7 grant Global Reordering: Evolution through European Networks (GR:EEN).