Gregory C. Shaffer, Transnational Recursivity Theory: A Review Essay of Halliday & Carruthers' Bankrupt, 9 Socio-Econ. Rev. 371 (2011).
This review essay for the Socio-Economic Review examines Terence Halliday and Bruce Carruthers’ book Bankrupt: Global Lawmaking and Systemic Financial Crisis. The essay notes how the authors build and apply theory along the following dimensions within a single book, addressing (i) the construction of global norm-making; (ii) the intermediating processes through which global norms are conveyed to national settings; (iii) the national enactment and implementation of global norms; and (iv) the recursive processes through which global norm-making and national lawmaking interact dynamically over time. After providing a brief overview of the authors’ major contributions (on mechanisms for change, the role of intermediaries, and the concept of recursivity), the essay examines the challenges that this work faces if it is to have a long-term theoretical impact, as it merits. The essay contends that since the authors’ key theoretical contribution is encapsulated in the concept of the “recursivity” of global and national processes, we should call their analytic framework Transnational Recursivity Theory. Such work requires the simultaneous study of the construction of global legal norms, their transnational transmission, their reception in national legal systems, and the processes through which this reception feeds back and potentially reshapes the globalizing legal norm.