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date: 01 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Global summits are commonly viewed as concert mechanisms dominated by political leaders. Although leaders are at the apex of the shifting dynamics of summitry—imparting symbolic importance to these meetings especially in time of crisis—the instrumental component is driven by a unique form of transnational management as seen in the evolution of the G20. At the core of this process is the work of the sherpas or permanent representatives of leaders. The role of the these politically well-connected actors is complemented by the activity undertaken by networks of technocratic finance ministry officials and central bankers either via the operations of the G20 (in working groups) or through interconnected—and often delegative—institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the Financial Stability Board, the Bank of International Settlements, and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. The onus is on policy competence in the context of an intense degree of complex interdependence in the global economy. Although the G20 lacks legal authority, the summit process both in its highly visible leader-centric components and its below-the-surface technocratic components form a mode of transnational management which uses an innovative repertoire to animate policy coordination.

Keywords: global summitry, G20, policy networks, sherpas, state officials, transnational management

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