Working paper

The G20: characters in search of an author

The G20 has produced mixed results. After initial high hopes and some success, negotiations within the G20 forum have slowed, progress is less visibl

Publishing date
13 March 2012

The G20 has produced mixed results. After initial high hopes and some success, negotiations within the G20 forum have slowed, progress is less visible and disagreement rather than agreement has come to the fore. Against this background, this paper revisits the basic economic and geopolitical motivations for the G20, in order to review its performance and attempt to draw lessons for the path ahead.

The authors conclude that:

  1. in today’s global economy (with its trade and financial market integration and its institutional architecture) a “G20-type” institution is necessary– if it didn’t exist, it should be created;
  2. the G20 had its high noon moment in 2008-09 and some recalibration of expectations was inevitable, but its achievements in 2010-11 have nevertheless been disappointing;
  3. to be fair there is, in detailed and technical work, more progress than there seems to be at first sight;
  4. from a governance standpoint, the G20 is not an efficient forum; improvements in working methods are urgently needed;
  5. more fundamentally, for the G20 to retain its role, its members need to develop a common vision of global economic problems and the way to approach them.

About the authors

  • Jean Pisani-Ferry

    Jean Pisani-Ferry holds the Tommaso Padoa Schioppa chair of the European University Institute. He is a Senior Fellow at Bruegel, the European think tank, and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute (Washington DC). He is also a professor of economics with Sciences Po (Paris).

    He sits on the supervisory board of the French Caisse des Dépôts and serves as non-executive chair of I4CE, the French institute for climate economics.

    Pisani-Ferry served from 2013 to 2016 as Commissioner-General of France Stratégie, the ideas lab of the French government. In 2017, he contributed to Emmanuel Macron’s presidential bid as the Director of programme and ideas of his campaign. He was from 2005 to 2013 the Founding Director of Bruegel, the Brussels-based economic think tank that he had contributed to create. Beforehand, he was Executive President of the French PM’s Council of Economic Analysis (2001-2002), Senior Economic Adviser to the French Minister of Finance (1997-2000), and Director of CEPII, the French institute for international economics (1992-1997).

    Pisani-Ferry has taught at University Paris-Dauphine, École Polytechnique, École Centrale and the Free University of Brussels. His publications include numerous books and articles on economic policy and European policy issues. He has also been an active contributor to public debates with regular columns in Le Monde and for Project Syndicate.

  • Ignazio Angeloni

    Ignazio Angeloni joined Bruegel as a visiting fellow in June 2008 and is currently a Member of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank. He has previously been the Director General - Financial Stability, Head of ECB preparation for the SSM, and Adviser to the ECB Executive Board on European financial integration, financial stability and monetary policy. He was the coordinator and contributor to the the G20 monitor.

    Before that, he was the Director for International Financial Relations at the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance.

    He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include macro economics, central banking, financial markets and the economics and politics of European integration.

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