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6th European Framework Programme in Research and Development

REFGOV - Reflexive Governance in the Public interest

The integrated project REFGOV counts 29 partner-institutions and is coordinated by the Centre for Philosophy of Law - Centre de Philosophie du Droit (CPDR) of the Catholic University of Louvain (Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium).

This research focuses on emerging institutional mechanisms which seek to answer the question of market failures by means other than command-and-control regulation imposed in the name of the public interest. It seeks to identify these new mechanisms, to evaluate them and to make institutional proposals for an improved form of governance.

The approach means to highlight two categories of insufficiency: insufficiency in the governance devices and insufficiency in the theoretical models currently available to address the former. It aims therefore to synthesize the achievements of the current interdisciplinary research and set up an interaction not only between the most advanced questions of Economics, Law, Political Science, but also between those questions and the Theory of Action related to the public interest governance. Beyond that, it will push forward the research on collective action and seek to build the theoretical tools required to address the remaining insufficiencies, upon the hypothesis that such improvements depend on the better construction of the preconditions of the collective learning process, which conditions the efficiency of any collective action...

It proposes to ground its empirical work in five material fields: Services of General Interest, Global Public Services and Common Goods, Institutional Frames for Markets, Corporate Governance and Fundamental Rights Governance. These laboratories of new forms of governance in the public interest have been chosen because a wide perspective must be adopted to define the preconditions of public interest, especially in the provision of public services. They constitute the five thematic sub-networks of the project.

A Cross-thematic Seminar will be set up to ensure an integrated and consistent reflection on common theoretical questions considered by each sub-network in their specific research.

A Theory of the Norm Unit will seek to link the current perspectives on governance theory to the more epistemological reflections originating in the Theory of Action and the Theory of the Norm. It will be closely connected to the Cross-thematic Seminar.

The REFGOV project was concluded in May 2010.

The major outputs are :

- Common publication : De Schutter, O., and Lenoble, J., (eds.), (2010), Redefining the Public Interest in a Pluralistic World, Oxford, Hart Publishing, May 2010, 235 pp. [Contributors - short description]

- Publication on the theoretical approach : Lenoble, J. and Maesschalck, M., (eds.), (2010), Democracy, Law and Governance, Aldershot, Ashgate, May 2010, 268 pp. [short description]

- Executive Summary over the 5 years [pdf]

- Policy Brief (short presentation of the project) [pdf]

Detailed outputs - Thematic publications - Annual reports : available at [Publications].

Publications, Working Papers, Conferences and Meetings (June 2005–May 2010) [pdf]


27-28 May 2010 - International Conference

published on Tuesday, 23rd February 2010

An International Conference on "Reflexive Governance in the Public Interest (REFGOV) & Democratic Governance and Collective Action (DEMOGOV)" organised by the CPDR, took place in Brussels on 27 and 28 May 2010. [Conference website : programmes and presentations]

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