Photokredit Lukas Bieri
I am (from September 2022) a Professor in Global and Intercultural Management at the Business School of the University of Applied Sciences in Bern, Switzerland. With a background in International Political Economy, I lead as principal investigator the DFG project: "The Rules of the Road? An Evaluation and Analysis of Chinese Investors’ Overseas Direct Investment Practices and their Global Impact." Besides, I am a Research Associate in the bidt project: “Learning from the “Frontrunner”? A Multidisciplinary Analysis of the Chinese Social Credit System and its Impact on Germany.” I was previously a Research Associate at TUM (Munich), and Visiting Scholar in Fudan (Shanghai), FGV (Rio de Janeiro), ITAM (Mexico City), JNU (New Delhi) and UIBE (Beijing); Research Associate at the Sino-Swiss Competence Centre of the University of St. Gallen (FIM-HSG); Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the University of Geneva and at the University of Lucerne; Guest Professor at Hunan University (湖南大学), and regular lecturer at the World Trade Institute in Bern.
My current research, which combines both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, looks at regulatory politics and international management practices; particularly, at the transformation of global economic governance by China through global investments (both by state owned and private firms) & its evolving Social Credit System.
Photokredit Christophe Schindler
International Political Economy
China & Global Economic Governance
Rising Powers (China, India and Brazil, CIBs/BICs)
Fluent in English, Spanish, German (& Swiss-German), French and Portuguese; intermediate Mandarin (over 1000 characters) and Italian
Introducing our Special Issue
Edited by Sandra Lavenex, Omar Serrano and Tim Büthe
Projects & Publications
Over the past years I have produced eighteen peer-reviewed publications, which include my book Domestic Sources of European Foreign Policy and numerous scholarly articles in renowned academic journals such as New Political Economy (2020 IF 4.681, 6th/146 in International Relations), the Review of International Political Economy, RIPE (2020 IF 4.659, 7th/146 in International Relations) and Regulation & Governance (2020 IF: 5.400, 13th/294 in Political Science) looking at China and other emerging economies’ role in global economic governance (Scopus h-index: 4). I have also published several chapters in edited volumes in well known international publishers such as Cambridge University Press, Palgrave Macmillan and Springer. Besides English, I have published in Portuguese (Editora UFPB) and Mandarin (Nanjing Press Company). For more information on my research projects click on the logo of the funding institutions below. To view my publications click on the image of the respective journal.
Eugenia C. Heldt, Patrick Mello, Anna Novoselova & Omar Serrano
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.
L’importante délégation de pouvoir aux organisations internationales (OI) a occasionnellement été accompagnée d’une marge d’agentivité. Bien que des études précédentes suggèrent que la propension des OI à obtenir une marge d’agentivité puisse être ancrée dans les caractéristiques de ces organisations, cela a rarement été étudié d’un point de vue empirique. Dans cet article, nous proposons une conceptualisation et une mesure de cette marge d’agentivité et nous développons un cadre de caractéristiques organisationnelles pour combler cette lacune. Pour notre étude empirique, nous appliquons une Analyse comparative qualitative (ACQ) afin d’évaluer les conditions dans lesquelles la marge d’agentivité intervient dans 16 institutions de l’ONU. Nous complétons l’analyse de cas croisés par deux illustrations de cas. Nos résultats documentent l’existence empirique de deux voies vers la marge d’agentivité tout en fournissant des preuves confirmant nos hypothèses théoriques. La première allie des règles de dotation en personnel qui sont favorables à l’agent puisqu’elles lui offrent un large accès aux tierces parties. Et la deuxième consiste à combiner des règles de dotation en personnel favorables avec une vaste délégation de pouvoir et un mandat organisationnel vague.
La amplia delegación de poderes en las organizaciones internacionales (OI) ha ido acompañada de una ocasional inactividad de los organismos. Si bien estudios anteriores sugieren que la tendencia de las OI a la inactividad está basada en sus características organizativas, esto no se ha estudiado empíricamente. Para abordar esta situación, proponemos en este documento una conceptualización y una valoración de la inactividad de las instituciones y desarrollamos un marco de características organizativas. Nuestro análisis empírico aplica el análisis comparativo cualitativo (Qualitative Comparative Analysis, QCA) para evaluar las condiciones en las que ocurre dicha inactividad en 16 instituciones de la ONU. Además, complementamos el análisis cruzado de casos con dos ejemplos ilustrativos. Nuestros resultados documentan la existencia empírica de dos caminos hacia la inactividad de las instituciones, lo que brinda evidencia confirmatoria de nuestras expectativas teóricas. El camino 1 combina normas para el personal que son favorables para el agente con amplio acceso a terceros. El camino 2 supone la combinación de normas favorables para el personal con la amplia delegación de la autoridad y un mandato organizativo impreciso.
Omar Ramon Serrano Oswald & Jappe Eckhardt
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.
Omar Serrano, Sandra Selmanovic, Benjamin Lee & Laura Arndt
Alle in China registrierten Unternehmen werden im Sozialkreditsystem (SKS) erfasst. Das System ist ein Regulierungsvorstoß der chinesischen Regierung und befindet sich aktuell im Aufbau. Der wichtigste Kategorisierungsmechanismus des Systems besteht aus Einträgen in Register und Listen. Damit wird das Verhalten von Unternehmen und Einzelpersonen belohnt (durch Redlisting) oder bestraft (durch Blacklisting und sogenannte Verwaltungsstrafen). Die aktuelle Studie ist Teil des vom bidt geförderten Konsortialprojekts „Vom ‚Vorreiter‘ lernen? Eine multidisziplinäre Analyse des chinesischen Sozialkreditsystems und seiner Auswirkungen auf Deutschland“.
Im Rahmen der Publikation wurden 170 bayerische Unternehmen hinsichtlich ihrer Kategorisierung im SKS analysiert. Ein Ergebnis: Die meisten Unternehmen sind auf roten und damit positiven Listen erfasst. Neun Prozent haben allerdings einen negativen Systemeintrag in Form einer Verwaltungsstrafe, die unter Umständen zu einem Blacklisting führen und mit erheblichen Sanktionen verbunden sein kann.
Global Policy (2022)
Eugenia C. Heldt, Patrick Mello, Anna Novoselova & Omar Serrano
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.
Edited by Sandra Lavenex, Omar Serrano and Tim Büthe
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.
Omar Ramon Serrano Oswald and Mira Burri
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.
In: The Shifting Landscape of Global Trade Governance
Eds. Manfred Elsig, Michael Hahn and Gabriele Spilker
Cambridge University Press, 2019
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.
Valbona Muzaka & Omar Serrano (2019)
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.
Omar Serrano (2018)
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.
Tomas CasasiKlett & Omar Serrano (2018)
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.
Edited by Sandra Lavenex and Omar Serrano (2017)
The EU and the US are at the origin of most international institutions and rules for both trade and finance, and both have long exported their preferred policies to the rest of the world. Today, this hegemonic position is increasingly challenged by the rise of new centres of economic power such as China, India and Brazil. This introductory article introduces the ‘supply-and-demand model of regulatory power’ guiding this Special Issue and, drawing on the latter’s contributions, illustrates the interplay between EU/US regulatory outreach and emerging economies’ domestic politics in explaining the embracement or rejection of EU/US trade-related agendas.
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.
Ivo Krizic & Omar Serrano (2017)
This article focuses on the EU’s and the US’s relationship with Brazil, India and China (BIC) in the area of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The comparison of EU and US approaches yields the interplay between hierarchical (coercive) and horizontal (network-based) strategies used by both sides to advance a maximalist IP agenda vis-à-vis the BIC. We furthermore find the EU taking inspiration (i.e. ‘learning’) from the US in the process of strengthening its external IP policy. Switching the angle to the ‘demand-side’ of emerging countries, China comes out as the most accommodative among the BIC in terms of aligning its IP (especially patent) legislation and enforcement practices with standards promoted by the EU and the US. India and Brazil, on the other hand, have shown more signs of contestation, not only in domestic implementation but also in terms of opposing and seeking alternatives to EU- and US-induced global IP norms
A Saúde Global é uma das áreas entre as quais os países emergentes têm desempenhado um papel importante no que se refere à ordenação das regras internacionais. No período pós-Trips, a Índia e especialmente o Brasil continuaram a liderar coalizões de países em desenvolvimento com o objetivo de limitar e calibrar o impacto das mudanças acarretadas pelo acordo Trips. Dada sua importância, os esforços multilaterais dos países em desenvolvimento na garantia de uma interpretação equilibrada do acordo Trips são bem documentados. Por sua vez, as iniciativas domésticas que complementam e dão lastro a essas iniciativas internacionais receberam bem menos atenção. Este capítulo investiga uma das praticas domésticas mais importantes e sua evolução no cenário pós-Trips em dois dos países em desenvolvimento mais influentes ao longo das negociações do Trips – o licenciamento compulsório. Ao analisá-los procuramos entender até que ponto esses dois países têm aprendido com ou emulado as experiências um do outro e se a coordenação para a implementação das flexibilidades do Trips têm acontecido.
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.
Omar Serrano, Nanjing Press Company (2015)
本章研究的目标是构建欧盟外交政策对国内政治进程和民意的影响同时通过这一研究对通过推进内部改革以实现地区安全的欧盟政策进行 评估 本章聚焦决策者和民意安全关注的不协调状况在对外交政 策相关问题来自国内选区的关注中也出现了类似的情况这些都不断 对过去十年中的"宽容共识"进行着侵蚀 在许多欧盟成员国(MS)内部都存在着对于扩大"四个自由" (资本劳动力商品和服务) 的反对声音， 力而后者是欧盟扩大和新睦邻战略的主要推动。
Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies. Geneva, Switzerland
Topic: ‘The Domestic Sources of European Foreign Policy: Defence and Enlargement’
Advisor: Cédric Dupont. Readers: Urs Luterbacher and Frank Schimmelfennig
London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE. London, UK
Dissertation: ‘Two-Level Games, Regional Integration and Referenda Strategy. Austria, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland: a Case Study’
Advisor: Mathias Koenig-Archibugi
ITAM University. Mexico City, Mexico
Dissertation: ‘The Internal Effects of EU Conditionality on Turkey’
Advisor: Stephan Sberro
2008 – to date
Mandarin Courses. Geneva, Switzerland & Beijing China
University of Geneva, Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) & private tutor
VBW & bidt | Dialog International | OnlineKongress
Chinesisches Sozialkreditsystem – Unterstützung, Überwachung oder Steuerung?
Moderation: Dr. Astrid Freyeisen, Redaktionsleiterin Wirtschaft und Soziales, BR
München, 3. Februar, 2022
Photokredit vbw/Stefan Obermaier
Photokredit vbw/Stefan Obermaier
Photokredit vbw/Stefan Obermaier
February 2021 - bidt WerkstattDigital: Volle Kontrolle? Chinas Sozialkreditsystem & seine Auswirkungen auf Deutschland, Munich, Germany and Beijing, China
Moderation: Lea Deuber, China-Korrespondentin der Süddeutschen Zeitung
September 2020: bidt Sprint Review, Project: Learning from the “Frontrunner”? A Multidisciplinary Analysis of the Chinese Social Credit System and its Impact on Germany, Munich, Germany
Photo credit: Klaus D. Wolf
Photo credit: Klaus D. Wolf
Photo credit: Klaus D. Wolf
October 2019: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization Workshop on the Role of Economic Diplomacy Today, Istanbul, Turkey
September 2019: Munich Politics Network 2019. Panel on the future of global economic governance, Munich, Germany
September 2018: Evaluation of the Sino-Swiss FTA. A research-based assessment of the Sino-Swiss trade agreement. Behind this work is a team of academics of the Sino-Swiss Competence Center (SSCC) from the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in Beijing, Nanjing University, and the University of St.Gallen (HSG). Kantonsratssaal St. Gallen, Switzerland
May 2018: Presentation at the closing ceremony of the Shanghai Forum, Shanghai, China
May 2018. Shanghai Forum Roundtable: The role of multilateral development banks in Asia and Emerging Countries post 2008 crisis. From left to right (bottom to top), Prof. Dr. Luciano Coutinho (former president of the Brazilian development bank BNDES), Prof. Dr. Justin Yifu Lin (former World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President), Prof. Dr. L.C. Bresser-Pereira (former Finance Minister of Brazil), Mmakgoshi Lekhethe (Executive director of the AfDB), Dr. Joachim von Amsberg (Vice-President of the AIIB), Dr. Ronaldo Lemus (Columbia University), Lucas Dib (NYU Shanghai), Sergio Suchodolski (Director of Strategy, NDB), Farid Masmoudi (formerly ISDB), Dr. Omar Serrano (Technical University of Munich). Shanghai, China
November 2017: Emerging Economies Forum and China Society of Emerging Economies Annual Conference, Guangzhou, China
September 2017: Symposium on New Development Assistance (NDA). Emerging Economies (EEs) and the New Landscape of Development Assistance. Organised by Fudan University and the London School of Economics, Shanghai, China
September 2017: Second International Symposium on Development and Governance in the BRICS, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
July 2017: Final ESRC conference: Rising Powers and Interdependent Futures. University of Manchester
July 2017: Roundtable The Belt and Road Initiative in the Current Trade and Integration Context organised by ICTSD and CCIEE, Geneva, Switzerland
May 2017: Signing Ceremony Sino-Swiss Competence Center. HSG-FIM and UIBE, Beijing, China
May 2017: Launching of Sino-Swiss Competence Center. University of St. Gallen and UIBE, Beijing, China
November 2016: Presentation at CASS Forum, G-20 from Hangzhou to Hamburg, Guangzhou, China
November 2016: Best Paper Award Ceremony (Second Prize) from the China Society of Emerging Economies, Guangzhou, China
November 2016: Joint workshop University of Geneva- Fudan. Emerging Powers and New Development Institutions. The AIIB and the NDB, Geneva, Switzerland
September 2016: CEBRI Workshop What's New for Brazil in the New Development Bank. Rio de Janeiro Brazil
August 2016: ICTSD Workshop on G-20 Trade and Investment Outcomes. Beijing, China
July 2016: Participation and presentation at the Think - 20 Summit (T-20) Building New Global Relationships. Beijing, China
July 2016: Visit to the Shanghai Institute of International Studies (SIIS). Discussion with Prof. Liu Zongyi from the Institute for World Economic Studies on China-India cooperation in the framework of BRICS, India’s perspective of the “One Belt and One Road” Initiative and economic integration in the Asia-Pacific