February 9, 2021

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Edward Elgar Publishing signs the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Publishers Compact

Edward Elgar Publishing signs the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Publishers Compact

We are delighted to announce that we have signed up to the UN’s SDG Publishers Compact.

As signatories we aspire to develop sustainable practices and act as champions of the SDGs during the Decade of Action (2020-2030), publishing books and journals that will help inform, develop and inspire action. The compact includes 10 action points that publishers can commit to undertake to accelerate progress to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

We aspire to develop sustainable practices and act as champions of the SDGs during the Decade of Action

Our commitment to the compact aligns with our company mission to enrich and support our academic and professional communities in social sciences and law through creative commissioning and effective dissemination of high calibre content for a global audience. It also reflects our values of thoughtful publishing and a collaborative, long term and globally oriented approach to business.

Explore our curated content that relates to individual Sustainable Development Goals through our SDG collection.


August 23, 2019

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Open Access Publishing

High angle view of many hardback books. Library or school.

Alex Pettifer, our Editorial Director, discusses Elgar’s approach to assessing and publishing new Open Access titles.

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November 23, 2021

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The Policy Uptake of Citizen Sensing, exploring what makes civic monitoring influential on policy decisions

by Anna Berti Suman, SensJus Principal Investigator

Drawing by Alice Toietta for SensJus
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October 27, 2021

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Levelling up, Fairness, and Efficiency

By Roger A. McCain

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October 25, 2021

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The Dawn of the Information Age

‘It’s the beginning of the new age, it’s the beginning of the new age, it’s … , etc’. So goes the refrain of the Velvet Underground anthem that used to so intoxicate me as a teenager. Now, I would substitute ‘It’s the beginning of the information age, it’s …, etc’. This, the information age, or, in Manuel Castells’s language, the global network society, is the context for the contributions I have collated in the Research Handbook on Information Policy. (The photo on the dust jacket is meant to represent the dawn of a new age: hopefully it succeeds, or that it is at any rate a pretty cover for the library shelf or coffee table.)

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October 25, 2021

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Comity: Multilateralism in the new cold war

In his new book, Frank Vibert takes the concept of ‘Comity’ as the entry point for a discussion of international rulemaking in today’s world.

‘Comity’ applies to any situation where different jurisdictions overlap in the same territorial space. This is what we have in the international space at the present time – many overlapping rules and spheres of responsibility. It is a situation often described as ‘incoherent’.

Comity is a familiar concept in legal studies where there is a long history of overlapping jurisdictions. For example, in medieval Europe there existed an overlap between the law of the king, the law of the church, the law of merchant guilds and local law.  It is less familiar in other social sciences.

I choose comity as an organising concept, not only because it aptly describes today’s world of a multitude of international regimes, but also for three further reasons.

First, the concept helps us to focus on the normative element in international rulemaking. Norms are too important to be left out. They help shape the content of international rules, the structure of international institutions and the relationships between the governments and others involved in making the rules.

Secondly, comity centres attention on the use of discretion to avoid open conflict between systems. We do not want a world in conflict but need other ways in which countries can express and defend their values. The main tool for countries to exert influence on others, short of invoking force, is through regulation. For example, the EU aims to assert its influence in the world through such instruments as its regulation on privacy (GDPR) and its proposed carbon border adjustment measure. The analysis highlights the role of ‘permissiveness norms’ as a way to reduce conflict between different regulatory systems.

Thirdly, we have reached a point in international rulemaking where global initiatives have largely stalled. We need a way out of impasse. At the same time, we cannot plausibly claim that a new world order is imminent. Comity helps us to identify a pathway.

The New Cold War.

The book starts by looking at the reason for the current impasse in international rulemaking. In the old Cold War, the impasse reflected different world views. In the new Cold War, the impasse reflects differences in the domestic structure of power – the difference between countries that are broadly democratic and those that are authoritarian and repressive.

For a long time in the post-war world, it was thought that differences in the domestic organisation of power need not stand in the way as an obstacle to moving ahead on international tasks. However, this assumption is no longer valid. It no longer holds true because we have moved to a world where transactions are driven by data, information, and content – the so-called ‘knowledge economy’.

In the knowledge economy, democracies and authoritarian regimes choose different values to apply. For democracies, values such as privacy, the probity of data and contracts, and concepts such as personhood, are vital. Repressive regimes are only concerned with government control. These differences in the choice of values to apply in today’s world spill up and over into the international arena. The knowledge economy effects all spheres of public choice – from finance, to health, to the environment.

Out of Impasse

The book identifies two main ways out of this impasse. One way is to divide large areas of concern on the international agenda, such as trade or the environment, into much smaller sub-topics. In this way issues of principle can often be avoided while agreement can still be reached on narrow specifics. I borrow a phrase, ‘disjointed incrementalism’, from political scientists writing on the policy process, to describe this option.

The analysis in the book centres on a second option. This involves limited groups of like-minded democratic countries getting together to make the rules. They can start by making the rules for themselves and then try to extend their agreement to others, leading ideally in the end to full multilateral agreement. A current example is the proposed agreement on minimum taxes for multinational corporations. Agreement started within OECD and the G7 and has now extended to the G20 and to about 135 countries in all.  The analysis concludes on why this option is to be preferred.

*****

When the Soviet Union collapsed, we hoped that we would see a world of converging global norms and much easier international rulemaking. This has not happened. Norms are not converging. Fully international rulemaking has hit a roadblock. The obstacle is that authoritarian regimes and democratic governments choose different principles to apply in rulemaking.  This book explains what we should do about it.


Frank Vibert, Associate, Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR), London School of Economics, UK

Comity: Multilateralism in the New Cold War is out now

Read Chapter 1 free on Elgaronline

October 20, 2021

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Ageing’s Impacts Already Are Here: The Effects of Falling Working Age Populations on Business

Alfred Marcus and Mazhar Islam examine how demographic changes introduce new challenges for businesses.

The impacts on countries that have falling working-age populations – Japan, Germany, Russia, Taiwan, the US and China – are profound. First, a shortage of labour is leading to higher pay, which has resulted in an uptick in inflation. Second, economic growth, which arises from having more workers and their being more productive, has been slowing and it is likely to continue to slow. Countries with fewer workers have to increase their productivity rapidly, or else they face diminishing growth. At best, they can maintain the same level of economic activity. However, it will be hard for ageing countries to increase this level. Third, demand will fall.

These reflections about what will happen next are not speculations. Businesses must recognize that a decline in working-age adults means fewer taxpayers and, with fewer taxpayers, the stress on social security and welfare systems of countries that have fewer workers grows. As populations contract, the challenge for governments is to find sufficient revenue to fund programs that look after the elderly, while continuing to nourish the young. Governments must rely on their populations being replenished by immigration or their economies being transformed by technological advances. Without these, the decline in family size – families being neither large nor stable enough – presents a daunting challenge, one that no government has yet to master fully.

Already in the US the number of jobs is exceeding the number of job seekers, a development that makes perfect sense as the number of elderly rises and immigration is curtailed. Without increases in productivity, or delays in the age of retirement, businesses have to recognize that countries with fewer workers are not likely to grow rapidly. Were there to be another economic shock like the great recession of 2007–08 or some other unexpected event like the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be very difficult for countries with declining workforces to return to a normal level of growth.

The positive side of reduced growth in ageing countries is less negative environmental impact. Reduced growth boosts efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but this reduction may be accompanied by declines in food, water, and energy consumption, and lower living standards. Therefore, technological innovation that is good for the planet and good for the corporate bottom line should be a high priority that is pursued vigorously by all companies. Companies also need to closely collaborate with government and policymakers in ageing countries so that the governments undertake policies that promote such technological innovation.

Immigration is the sensible way to replenish lagging working-age populations. Businesses should become major supporters of pro-immigration policies. However, until now, immigration at the scale needed to make a significant dent in the problem has been politically unfeasible in almost all countries. The rise of nationalist leaders around the world and their ascent to power is harming the ability of the world to adjust to the challenge of ageing. Businesses must do all they can to oppose these movements and to put a stop to the policies they represent. It is in the self-interest of business to do so.

The alternative, to persuade citizens to have more babies, or to incentivize them with monetary rewards, is a far slower and less certain way to approach the problem of ageing. Typically, most of the subsidies offered to people to have more children are absorbed by people who would have had such children without the subsidy. Experience in Europe with longer parental leaves as a way to encourage increased births suggests that such policies do not impact birth rates significantly. However, such benefits do lead to better parenting and positive societal benefits. Subsidized childcare does seem to help, though the effects are not sufficient for countries to move their fertility rates back to the replacement level which would guarantee population stability.

Therefore, businesses should support these subsidies. They should support them because they signal to women that they can have families and at the same time fully pursue their careers without impairing either quest to any great extent. Women need to feel that they can participate fully in the workforce. Their participation has never been needed as much as now, especially in ageing societies.

There are several other implications for management about how it should prepare for a situation in countries where the size of the working class is shrinking:

  • Salaries and benefits might have to be increased to retain quality human capital which might
    be in great demand in these societies.
  • Human resource practices must be implemented that attract employees who have traditionally
    remained outside the workforce.
  • It must be recognized that demand patterns will be far different in ageing societies.
    Marketing and product development will change.

Management must devise strategies that take advantage of the world’s demographic diversity. It cannot rely solely on aging societies as their vitality will inevitably diminish to some degree. As well as making aggressive attempts to innovate technologically, businesses must never let up in their strong support for liberal immigration policies.


Demography and the Global Business Environment by Alfred A. Marcus and Mazhar Islam will be published in November,

Alfred A. Marcus is Edson Spencer Professor of Strategy and Technology Leadership, Carlson School of Management and the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota. Mazhar Islam is Assistant Professor of Management and the Chase Distinguished Professor of International Business, College of Business, Loyola University New Orleans, US

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