Date Issued



Conflicting interests among private actors constitute an important factor to explain why and how transnational private regulation has grown and the proliferation of standards and standard setting organizations that has followed. This essay provides a map of transnational regulatory space suggesting that the different levels are related to various governance responses to conflicts within the private sphere and between private and public actors.Three levels of the global regulatory space are considered: (1) the single global regulatory body, where interests are integrated into one organization, (2) the regime, in which multiple organizations operate, regulating within the same policy field, (3) multiple regimes often associated with different, often conflicting, policies that interplay cooperatively or competitively. Unlike the traditional multilevel governance literature, where 'levels' are primarily defined on the basis of a territorial metric, here the notion of regulatory space is functional and independent from the administrative boundaries of nation states. For the three levels, the choice of the key governance features are driven by the different forms of the relationship between regulators, regulatees and beneficiaries and how their conflicting interests are balanced at the organizational and/or regime level. Depending on how the interests of regulatees and beneficiaries are combined, different governance options will emerge: creating single or multiple regulators, defining the architecture of the whole regime, in particular the alternative between monopoly and plurality of private regulators, or creating independent regimes, each one representing the interests of a constituency with potentially policies' interdependencies. The selection of the legal instruments, in particular the choice between contract and organization to coordinate conflicting interests is correlated to the level: organization law is more important in the first level while contract law becomes increasingly important moving up to the regime or inter-regime level. Two forms fo governance are distinguished: micro-governance, operating primarily through organizations where judicial intervention by domestic courts is very limited; macro-governance, using transactional rather than organizational tools, deploying coordination mechanisms between organizations or regimes representing different interests (trade and environment, e-commerce and data protection, labour and consumer). In the latter case the role of domestic Courts increases to regulate conflicts and allocate ex post the regulatory space. The paper concludes arguing that the future of TPR and its effectiveness will depend on the choice among these different levels which will be partly driven by endogenous factors, and partly by exogenous legal and non legal factors, among which competition law is likely to play an important role.


private regulation, governance, contract, transnational private regimes, conflicts of norms


Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Business Organizations Law | Contracts | International Business | Transnational Law

Document Type

Working Paper