Nanotechnology: Regulation at the Nexus of Environmental Politics and International Security
Twenty years ago, scientists and policymakers proclaimed nanotechnology as the Fourth Industrial Revolution: it would cure cancer, remediate environmental destruction, and boost the economy. Shortly thereafter, over sixty countries created new national nanotechnology initiatives in order to capitalize on these promises. Why have some countries succeeded more than others in creating nanotechnology innovation? Until now, much of the literature on nanotechnology has focused on the science behind nanotechnologies, legal dimensions of risk, global governance, or country-specific studies of policies and regulation, revealing a key oversight: namely, the role of politics, transnational actors, and regulatory frameworks.
This book fills that gap, arguing that the innovation imbalance across countries can be explained by the fact that policy entrepreneurs act through global diffusion channels and national regulatory regimes. Kirsten Rodine-Hardy first establishes a theoretical framework to analyze trends in nanotechnology innovations in policies, markets, and regulations and to demonstrate how nanotechnology policies have diffused globally. Then, she applies this framework to comparative case studies in nanotechnology innovation, revealing the U.S.’s market-oriented and decentralized approach, the EU’s government-led and precautionary approach, and developing nations’ state-led–yet fragmented–approach. Ultimately, through its focus on the politics of nanotechnology, the book transforms our understanding of the nexus of global markets, environment, and security.
In recent years, liberalization, privatization, and deregulation have become commonplace in sectors once dominated by government-owned monopolies. In telecommunications, for example, during the 1990s, more than 129 countries established independent regulatory agencies and more than 100 countries privatized the state-owned telecom operator. Why did so many countries liberalize in such a short period of time? For example, why did both Denmark and Burundi, nations different along so many relevant dimensions, liberalize their telecom sectors around the same time? Kirsten L. Rodine-Hardy argues that international organizations – not national governments or market forces – are the primary drivers of policy convergence in the important arena of telecommunications regulation: they create and shape preferences for reform and provide forums for expert discussions and the emergence of policy standards. Yet she also shows that international convergence leaves room for substantial variation among countries, using both econometric analysis and controlled case comparisons of eight European countries.
Reviews & endorsements
“Many ask the question: What is the impact of politics and policy on the global flow of information? Kirsten Rodine-Hardy provides one of the most complete answers to this question to date. This volume is more than just case studies that clarify specific situations. It is a probing examination of the interplay between policy, institutions, and theory that both helps the reader to see the connections between them as well as to ponder the challenges scholars, policy makers, and citizens face in understanding them.” – Ken Rogerson, Duke University
“Kirsten Rodine-Hardy provides a compelling and sophisticated understanding of global policy diffusion, which resulted in the liberalization of telecommunications sectors. The empirical evidence is excellent and brings in mixed methods approaches to explain the timing, scope, and comparative differences in telecommunications regulation and policies. The theoretical, empirical, and methodological claims in the book will persuade scholars to apply similar insights to other important political economy issues.” – J. P. Singh, George Mason University