This is a joint seminar together with the Organisation cluster.

Afshin Mehrpouya, Assistant Professor, HEC Paris

Rita Samiolo, Lecturer, London School of Economics and Political Science

Knowledge in Transnational Governance: the Access to Medicine Index and the work of regulatory capitalism analysts

The past thirty years have seen a radical transformation of governance marked by the transfer of governing authority and accountability regimes from governmental and intergovernmental bodies to networks of private organizations, in a turn that has been described as “regulatory capitalism”. Private regulators mobilize quantitative knowledge forms and inscriptions such as rankings, ratings and league tables to create normative orders aimed at intervening in organizations by means of market pressures. This shift, we argue, is transforming governance into a performance management exercise, largely conducted by analysts working in private or semi-private organisations dispersed throughout the polity. The work of these “regulatory capitalism analysts” has received little academic attention so far. In this paper, through a detailed study of the analysis process involved in the production of the Access to Medicine Index, we aim to address this gap. The Index, whose outcome is a ranking of the largest global pharmaceutical companies, is expected to help address the social problem of medicines accessibility in the global south by means of stakeholder consultation, transparency and competition. This paper follows the mechanics of the performance measurement leading to the creation of the Index, and traces the epistemic values at play in the work of analysts involved in its production. The study shows how the goals of deliberation and stakeholder inclusion, the need to project scientificity, and the Index’s underlying ideal of governance through competition shape the epistemic values and practices leading to specific techniques of knowledge validation and different forms of self-discipline in the analysts’ work.

All seminars in the series.