Prof. Dr. Omar Ramon Serrano
Prof. Dr. Omar Ramon Serrano Dozent
Institut Marketing & Global Management
Serrano Omar and Eckhardt Jappe (2022) New Champions of Preferential Trade? Two-Level Games in China’s and India’s Shifting Commercial Strategies. Review of International Political Economy.
Following decades of relative isolation, China and India have become the world’s largest new traders. In this paper, we focus on their Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs). While the two economies initially followed similar paths, with a growing number of PTAs signed in the first decade of the 21st Century, since 2011 India has taken a U-turn and stopped completing them. China, on the other hand, has widened and deepened its trade agreements. We present a novel theoretical framework to analyze international economic negotiations by emerging economies and use it to study the puzzling divergence of the trade policies of China and India. By adapting the two-level game framework to emerging economies, we argue that there are key differences in the political economies of countries like China and India (compared to Western industrialized ones), which requires a more specific focus on the domestic side of the two-level game. We show that accounting for non-legislative domestic ratification processes and for iterative games and experiential learning by domestic actors are crucial in understanding the trade strategies of emerging economies. While much of the literature explains large emerging economies by looking at external systemic factors, we instead suggest that their domestic politics trumps international politics.
Serrano Oswald, Omar Ramon; Selmanovic, Sandra; Lee, Benjamin, Lee; Arndt, Laura (2022) Techno-Regulation in China: How are Bavarian Firms Faring Under the Social Credit System. bidt Analyses
Since introduction of the Chinese Social Credit System (SCS) in 2014 – 2020, there have been concerns about the repercussions of this system on companies and individuals trading in China. In this study, we examine the Chinese SCS’ impact on Bavarian companies. We investigate how large, medium, small and micro Bavarian companies active in China are being classified and assessed under the SCS. This publicly accessible system aims to rank specific business activities either as desirable, rewarding them (through red lists), or as undesirable, punishing them (through administrative penalties or blacklists).
Our analysis of 170 Bavarian companies in China shows that these firms, for the most part, feature on red (positive) lists. However, almost 9% of the companies are subject to negative entries in the system by way of an administrative penalty, which under certain circumstances may lead to inclusion on a blacklist. The positive entries relate mainly to tax matters, while contraventions to regulations in the areas of work safety, health and environment constitute the majority of negative entries. At regional level, though, there are significant differences regarding the implementation of the SCS by local authorities. We complement our analysis with findings from 10 in-depth interviews that provide insights into the experiences and perspectives of Bavarian companies based in China in the context of the SCS. Our evaluation feeds into recommendations for action, particularly regarding potential measures of support for Bavarian companies with Chinese subsidiaries.
Heldt Eugenia, Mello Patrick, Novoselova Anna and Serrano Omar (2022) Persistence Against the Odds: How Entrepreneurial Agents Helped the UN Joint Inspection Unit to Prevail. Global Policy.
Since its inception in 1966, the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) has prevailed in the face of significant existential challenges. Against this backdrop, we investigate how and why the JIU persisted over time. Combining delegation and historical institutionalist approaches, we posit that entrepreneurial agents and layering processes together help us better understand persistence of international organizations. Based on semi-structured interviews with UN staff and JIU inspectors, we examine three critical junctures in the history of the JIU. Our results show that entrepreneurial agents and stakeholders in the JIU managed to avoid the closure or demotion of the JIU by engaging in a strategy of institutional layering. Our analysis, however, also demonstrates that the JIU survived at the price of losing its privilege as the central UN oversight body. These findings have implications for the study of international organizations and for the reform of the UN system at large.
Heldt, Mello, Novoselova & Serrano (2022). When Do International Organizations Engage in Agency Slack? A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of United Nations Institutions. Global Studies Quarterly.
The extensive delegation of power to international organizations (IOs) has been accompanied by occasional agency slack. While prior studies suggest that IOs’ propensity for agency slack may be rooted in their organizational characteristics, this has rarely been explored empirically. To address this lacuna, in this article we propose a conceptualization and measurement of agency slack and develop a framework of organizational characteristics. Our empirical analysis applies qualitative comparative analysis to assess the conditions under which agency slack occurs across sixteen United Nations institutions. We complement the cross-case analysis with two case illustrations. Our results document the empirical existence of two paths to agency slack, providing confirmatory evidence for our theoretical expectations. Path 1 combines staffing rules that are favorable for the agent with wide access to third parties. Path 2 entails the combination of favorable staffing rules with extensive delegation of authority and a vague organizational mandate.
Lavenex Sandra, Serrano Omar and Büthe Tim (2021) Introduction (Special Issue): The Rise of the Regulatory State and Power Transitions. Regulation & Governance
Analyzing the consequences of the ongoing power transition in the world economy through the prism of the regulatory state, this special issue emphasizes the interplay of domestic and international politics that fuels or inhibits the creation of regulatory capacity and capability and thus emerging countries' transition from rule- takers to rule-makers in global markets.
Serrano Omar and Burri Mira (2020) India, Brazil, and Public Health: Rule-Making Through South-South Diffusion in the Intellectual Property Rights Regime? Regulation & Governance.
This article analyzes the domestic drivers of regulatory state formation in India and Brazil and its consequences for the global rules governing pharmaceutical patents. We look into two key domestic regulatory initiatives: India’s Section 3(d) and Brazil´s prior consent requirement. These case studies provide two key insights. Firstly, the transition towards regulatory states in emerging countries is a bulky road and does not progress in linear ways. Secondly, once regulatory capacity and capability have been solidified, domestic policy innovations can become internationally influential. This needs not work through the traditional channels of multilateralism, but can also occur horizontally through policy-diffusion to other jurisdictions.
Muzaka Valbona and Serrano Omar (2019) Teaming Up? China, India and Brazil and the Issue of Benefit- Sharing from Genetic Resource Use. New Political Economy.
In this article, we focus on an area that has not been systematically addressed but is of crucial importance to China, India and Brazil: The global governance of genetic resources. All three countries are rich in biodiversity and, ever since biotechnology promised to turn DNA into gold, have been significant players in the regime complex that governs genetic resources. Shortcomings notwithstanding, the establishment of a new access and benefit-sharing regime constitutes a rare instance where emerging countries have succeeded in becoming rule-makers of sorts. We analyse the ways in which these three countries have sought to pursue their interests in this area.
Serrano Omar and Mira Burri (2019) TRIPS Implementation in Developing Countries: Likely Scenarios to 2025." In: The Shifting Landscape of Global Trade Governance. Cambridge University Press.
This chapter sketches future scenarios of TRIPS implementation in developing countries by looking at past experience, current trends and by comparing historical and cross-country patterns. The chapter focuses on the three largest emerging economies -Brazil, India and China (BICs), since they are those with the highest potential to shape the intellectual property regime.
Serrano Omar (2019) The new architects: Brazil, China, and innovation in multilateral development lending. Public Administration and Development
Recent academic works have shed light upon the motives and negotiation dynamics leading to the creation of the New Development Bank (NDB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). We know less about their day-to-day activities and if (and if so why) they are being innovative in the field of multilateral development lending. This article evaluates novelty in the two banks. It uncovers and suggests an explanation to the puzzle of why the NDB appears more innovative (in terms of institutional design, staffing and lending policy guidelines) than the AIIB by exploring the cases of China and Brazil.
Casas iKlett Tomas and Serrano Omar (2018) Free-Trade Agreements as Belt and Road Initiative Steppingstone for Multilateralism: Is the Sino-Swiss FTA the Gold Standard?
Tomas Casas i Klett (China Competence Center, FIM-HSG University of St. Gallen, Switzerland) and Omar Serrano Oswald (University of Geneva, Switzerland) show how FTAs are used by the BRI as stepping-stones for multilateralism. They propose that China’s FTAs are part of a long- term multilateral approach with the potential to be included in the institutional infrastructure of the BRI. By developing a BRI Initiatives Dynamic Evaluation Framework, they emphasize that initiatives under BRI will be subject to decision and evaluation mechanisms that transcend China proper. This means that rather than being static, FTAs are dynamic. The key element in this iteration is the FTA upgrade, which includes trade impact analyses, business agent surveys, utilization rates, and signaling effects. The Sino–Swiss FTA is evaluated as a case study.
Morin Jean-Frederic, Serrano Omar, Bannerman Sarah and Burri Mira (2017) Rising Economies in the International Patent Regime: From Rule-breakers to Rule-changers and Rule-makers. New Political Economy
Rising economies face a crucial dilemma when establishing their position on international patent law. Should they translate their increasing economic strength into political power to further developing countries’ interests in lower levels of international patent protection? Or, anticipating a rising domestic interest in stronger international patent protection, should they adopt a position that favours maximal patent protection? Drawing on multiple case studies using a most-similar system design, we argue that rising economies, after having been coerced into adopting more stringent patent standards, tend to display ambivalent positions, trapped in bureaucratic politics and caught between conflicting domestic constituencies. We find that the recent proliferation of international institutions and the expansion of transnational networks have contributed to fragmentation and polarisation in domestic patent politics.
Serrano Omar (2016) China and India’s insertion in the intellectual property rights regime: sustaining or disrupting the rules? New Political Economy
This paper looks at the insertion of China and India in the contested and highly legalised regime of intellectual property rights (IP). In doing so it pays particular attention at two dimensions, the internal adoption of this regime and external endorsement/contestation of international IP norms. Much has been written about whether emerging countries will challenge or support the maintenance of an open rules-based multilateral trade system. In this context, the differentiated integration of these two countries in the IP regime is notable. Domestically, China despite much criticism for widespread IP infringement has followed a maximalist interpretation of TRIPS. India, on the contrary has followed other emerging countries in pursuing a more critical, minimalist understanding. These positions have also been visible at the multilateral arena.
Serrano Omar (2013) The Domestic Sources of European Foreign Policy: Defence and Enlargement. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press; Chicago University Press in North America.
This timely study considers the challenges of developing a foreign policy for a union of 27 states while taking national political processes into account. Serrano analyses the relevance of domestic political processes for the EU's common policies and examines the democratic deficit in the EU foreign policy, thereby highlighting what is unique about it and reflecting on its possible evolution. As the EU continues to face difficulties in formulating common policies, this volume offers a unique insight into the complexities of enhancing the EU's common policies by assessing domestic political debates and the role of actors who legitimise or constrain support for common policies.