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Tatyana Lanshina, Guo Shuyong , Ding Weihang

Global Governance and the Role of the G20 in the Emerging Digital Economy

2017. Vol. 12. No. 4. P. [issue contents]

Recent decades have seen a rapid digital transformation resulting in important and sometimes crucial changes in business, society and the global economy. After the global crisis of 2008–2009, digital industries have been the most dynamic and promising in the global economy. Still, the world has not yet found a balance between the benefits and risks of a digital economy and thus global governance in this sphere is required.

 This article analyses the role and unique characteristics of the Group of 20 (G20) in the sphere of global governance in the digital economy. The authors review the definitions of digital economy and identify the key characteristics of this sector.  They highlight the challenges the digital economy poses for international cooperation, analyse digital strategies of G20 countries and study the G20’s participation in global digital economy governance. Following on this, the authors analyse the potential for Chinese and Russian leadership and make recommendations concerning the participation of the G20 in the global governance of the digital economy.


The authors offer several conclusions based on their analysis. First, international society has to govern the digital economy properly to eliminate distortions between developed and developing countries, ensure cyber security and achieve a higher quality of life for all. Second, the G20 has very limited experience in the sphere of digital economy governance, but as a leader with soft power and as an organization with members who have developed their digital sectors and those that that lag behind, it may play a lead role in the global governance of the digital economy. Third, while the U.S. has historically dominated the information technology (IT) sector and the digital economy, China has improved its position enough to warrant a greater role in global governance. Russia may also play a greater (though not a leading) role, taking into account its experience and potential.

 The authors also conclude that the G20 should pay more attention to cooperation with African countries and promote tools to encourage voluntary cooperation, first and foremost with developing countries. The G20 should also work to improve international cyber security and involve the nongovernmental sector in the process of the global digital governance more often. Finally, the G20 should position itself properly and actively in the sphere of digital governance to optimize its functions as the hub of global governance.

Citation: Guo S., Ding W., Lanshina T. (2017) Global Governance and the Role of the G20 in the Emerging Digital Economy. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 12, no 4.
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