Chaire de recherche du Canada en ÉPI

Université Laval


Guillaume Beaumier est professeur adjoint en science politique et études internationales à l'École nationale d'administration publique (ENAP). Auparavant, il était chercheur postdoctoral à l'Université de Georgetown et chercheur invité à l'Université McGill.

Guillaume a obtenu un doctorat en science politique et études internationales de l'Université de Warwick et de l'Université Laval. Ses travaux portent sur la gouvernance mondiale, les nouvelles technologies, les interactions entre les acteurs publics et privés et le lien entre commerce et sécurité internationale. Dans sa thèse de doctorat, il a plus particulièrement étudié comment les règles de protection des données dans l'Union européenne et aux États-Unis ont évolué conjointement depuis 1995. Il a défendu sa thèse sans corrections à l'Université de Warwick et il a remporté le prix Vincent Lemieux remis à l'Université Laval à meilleure thèse soumise en sciences politiques pour l'année universitaire 2020/2021.

Avant d'obtenir son doctorat, Guillaume a complété une maîtrise en études internationales à l'Université Laval, pour laquelle il est inscrit au tableau d'honneur de la Faculté des études supérieures de l'Université Laval. Au cours des ses études, il a également agi à titre de consultant externe chez McKinsey & Co. et travaillé en tant qu'analyste junior à la section commerciale de l'Ambassade du Canada à Washington. Il s'est finalement impliqué au sein de la clinique de droit international pénal et humanitaire (CDIPH) de l’Université Laval et il a gagné le prix du meilleur plaideur à la 30e édition du Concours de procès simulé en droit international Charles-Rousseau. 

Les travaux de Guillaume Beaumier ont été publiés ou seront prochainement publiés dans Business and Politics, International Theory, Review of International Political Economy, Global Policy, Etudes Internationales et la Revue Québécoise de Droit International. Il a aussi contribué à plusieurs ouvrages collectifs. 

Pour plus d'informations sur sa recherche et son parcours, vous pouvez consulter sa page web

Intérêts de recherche

Économie politique internationale; géo-économie; géopolitique; gouvernance; institutions; protection des données privées; intelligence artificielle; chaîne de blocs (blockhain); semiconducteurs; commerce électronique;  investissement; complexité; étude sociologique des nouvelles technologies

Cours enseignés

Automne 2019: Principes d’économie politique internationale (GPL-2000A), Université Laval, Québec (Canada), Chargé de cours.

Hiver 2020: Séminaire d'intégration en économie politique (GPL-3002), Université Laval, Québec (Canada), Auxiliaire d'enseignement

Projet de recherche en cours

1. How New Organizational Forms Emerge? The Organizational Ecology of the Space Industry (Submitted), with Jean-Frédéric Morin

Abstract Outer space, a domain once governed by a handful of governmental agencies, is now increasingly populated by private space organizations (PSOs). PSOs launch rockets, operate satellites, and even take tourists on space expeditions. Few studies have investigated the factors behind the emergence of PSOs. This paper builds on the theory of organizational ecology to explain the phenomenon. Empirically, it draws from an original dataset of 1539 space organizations and 52 semi-structured interviews. It finds that mutualist relations between PSOs (i.e., commensalism) and between governmental space agencies and PSOs (i.e., symbiosis), have contributed to the development of PSOs. This finding contrasts sharply with the popular idea that PSOs developed as a result of technological innovations and visionary entrepreneurs. It also contrasts with the idea that dynamic PSOs are outcompeting a sclerosed public sector. PSOs have not superseded governmental space agencies. They are nurtured by and develop with them. This paper contributes to the literature on organizational ecology, by linking environmental constraints to mutualist strategies. It also contributes to the literature on interactions between public and private sectors, by showing how private businesses can emerge from the public sector.

2. Business power and public policy: Privatizing the public interest (Submitted), with Abraham Newman

Abstract Business decisions on issues ranging from content moderation to data protection rights define when and how important social values like free speech and privacy rights are protected. This article examines when and how firms regulate public goods in a digital economy. In contrast to functionalist explanation of private authority, we build an analytical framework based on business power and information assets. Drawing on the concept of infrastructural power and socio-technical studies, we first emphasize how companies centrally located in digital infrastructures can embed their policy preferences in technical artefacts and regulate other users’ behavior. We then argue that firms benefitting from significant information assets and network effects use the public interest to legitimize closing off their infrastructure and extract economic rents. We probe our argument looking at the do not track (DNT) policy implemented by Apple. Our findings contribute to explain the growing role played by digital companies in global regulatory debates and call attention to the role of business power.

3. Hybrid Organizations and Complex Systems: The Case of the European Space Agency (submitted), with Jean-Frédéric Morin and Cynthia Couettet

Abstract Governance systems tend to grow in complexity as their elements proliferate and specialize over time. In parallel, a tendency toward homophily favors the creation of clusters of homogenous organizations. Yet, few systems drift to the point of disconnection or dismemberment.  Several systems remain sufficiently integrated to allow some level of adaptation, even in the absence of hierarchical authority. To maintain an equilibrium between order and chaos, some organizations need to perform bridging work. This paper argues that hybrid organizations are well positioned to perform such task. By their nature, hybrid organizations share characteristics with different types of organizations populating a global governance system, which allow them to bridge different clusters. This structural position facilitates the performance of bridging work. This argument is illustrated by studying the space governance system and the hybrid nature, betweenness position, and bridging operations of the European Space Agency.

4. The Digital Sovereignty Trilemma, with Lars Gjesvik

Abstract From authoritarian to democratic countries, various jurisdictions increasingly aim to (re)assert their sovereignty in our digital era. Their approach to achieving this yet tends to vary in which actors’ autonomy they promote: (1) individual users, (2) firms, or (3) states. Building on Rodrik’s globalization trilemma, we argue that individual jurisdictions’ choice depends on how they attempt to resolve inherent tensions associated with governing a digital economy. When devising new digital policies, they can more precisely only achieve two out of the three following objectives: promote their regulatory preferences, develop their national industry, and support an open ecosystem. We probe our argument by looking at the evolving digital policy agendas in the European Union, the United States, and China. Our research contributes to the growing literature on digital sovereignty by highlighting how it acts as a structural constraint on the development of digital policies. As such, it brings nuance to longstanding debates over states eroding authority in a global and digital economy. Finally, it helps go further than dichotomous arguments opposing democracies as promoting an open digital ecosystem and autocracies preferring a closed one, emphasizing instead how different forms of digital sovereignty will favor the realization of contrasting policy objectives. 

5. Running out the clock: The politics of veto point in time, with Jonas Heering and Abraham Newma

Abstract To be added

Articles scientifiques

  • Morin, JF & G. Beaumier (2024) "The Organizational Ecology of the Global Space Industry", Review of International Political Economy, tbp. 

    The global space industry is booming. While governmental agencies used to dominate outer space activities, private space organizations (PSOs) now launch rockets, operate strategic satellites, and even take tourists on space expeditions. How can we explain this emergence of PSOs? Building on organizational ecology theory and drawing on a novel dataset of 1,751 space organizations and 52 semi-structured interviews, this paper finds that mutualistic relations between governmental space agencies and PSOs have been instrumental in the rise of PSOs. This emphasis on mutualism challenges the prevailing belief that a few visionary private entrepreneurs create the space industry from the ground up. It also refutes the notion that PSOs simply out-compete a stagnant public sector. PSOs have not superseded governmental space agencies; they are nurtured by and develop with them. This paper is one of the first to explain how private actors can emerge in a field historically dominated by governmental actors. In doing so, it contributes to studies on public-private interactions by showing how mutualism can structure a nascent industry. It also opens up new avenues for research on the political economy of outer space by making available a rich dataset of space actors

    Voir la publication originale en format pdf

  • Beaumier, G., C. Couette & JF Morin (2024) "Hybrid organisations and governance systems: the case of the European Space Agency," Journal of European Public Policy, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2024.2325647 

    The constitutive organisations of governance systems tend to multiply and diversify over time. In parallel, a tendency toward homophily favours the creation of clusters of homogeneous organisations. Yet, few systems drift to the point of disconnection or dislocation. Several remain sufficiently cohesive to allow adaptation and other complex properties to emerge. To maintain equilibrium between order and chaos, some organisations must create bridges between otherwise homogeneous groups. This paper argues that hybrid organisations are ideally suited for this role. By their nature, hybrids share characteristics with different types of organisations in global governance, allowing them to overcome strict homophily and create bridges across clusters. Hybrids benefit from acting as brokers and in doing so, they facilitate the exchange of material and ideational resources across the governance system. Even if it is not their intention, they contribute to holding governance systems together and counterbalance the effect of homophily. We illustrate this argument by examining the space governance system and the hybrid nature, bridging activities, and brokerage role of the European Space Agency.

    Voir la publication originale Voir la publication originale en format pdf

  • Guillaume Beaumier, Madison Cartwright, Cross-Network Weaponization in the Semiconductor Supply Chain, International Studies Quarterly, Volume 68, Issue 1, March 2024, sqae003.

    How do states’ positions across multiple and interconnected economic networks affect their power? The Weaponized Interdependence (WI) scholarship emphasizes that states centrally located in global economic networks have access to new sources of coercion. In this paper, we look at how their positions across multiple networks interact with each other to create new opportunities and vulnerabilities. We use network analysis to map the semiconductor supply chain and show that it can be viewed as four interrelated networks: (1) design, (2) raw material, (3) manufacturing equipment, and (4) assembled chips. We then highlight how states’ centrality varies across these networks and how it shapes their respective opportunities for coercion. Looking specifically at the United States, we emphasize how its centrality in the design network enables it to weaponize chokepoints in the trade network of assembled chips. In so doing the paper makes three contributions. First, it highlights how interactions among multiple economic networks provide new opportunities for states to weaponize interdependence. Second, it contributes to recent attempts using network analysis to analyze structural power on the global stage. Last, it demonstrates how network methodology can help detect potential (ab)uses of WI and how the potential for weaponization evolves over time.

    Voir la publication originale

  • Beaumier, G, M Papin and JF Morin (2024) "A Combinatorial Theory of Institutional Invention". International Theory. 16(1): 50-76.

    From climate change to disruptive technologies, policymakers constantly face new problems calling for unprecedented institutional solutions. Yet, we still poorly understand the inventive process leading to the emergence of new institutional forms. Existing theories argue that exogenous changes provide incentives and opportunities for institutional invention. However, they fail to explain how the inventive process itself endogenously structures their emergence. Drawing from complexity theory and Brian Arthur’s work on technological inventions, we develop a structural theory recasting the process of inventing new institutions as the combination of pre-existing institutions. Building on three assumptions related to this combinatorial process, we argue that the distance between institutions shapes the emergence of new institutional forms and their regime’s trajectory. Following the initial take-off in the number of institutional inventions at the creation of a regime, we expect the rate of institutional inventions over replications will slow down as nearby institutions are combined and accelerate as distant ones are combined. We illustrate these expectations by looking at three regimes: data privacy, climate governance, and investment protection. Together, they showcase how our combinatorial theory can help make sense of the emergence of unprecedented institutions and, more generally, the pace of unfolding complexity in various international regimes.

    Voir la publication originale en format pdf

  • Beaumier, G. (2023). Novelty and the demand for private regulation: Evidence from data privacy governance. Business and Politics, 1-22. doi:10.1017/bap.2023.16

    Private regulations are often presented as low-cost and flexible institutions that can act as policy incubators. In this article, I question under which conditions they go beyond legal compliance and experiment with new rules. Based on a content analysis of 126 data privacy regulations adopted between 1995 and 2016 in the European Union and the United States and thirty-five semistructured interviews, I show that most private regulations include no regulatory novelties. By disaggregating the temporal and spatial distribution of the few novelties, I add nuance to this overall finding and show that private regulations adopted in the United States before 2000 experimented more than others. I argue that this variation reflects the different demands for private regulation in the two jurisdictions and their evolution over time. In the European Union, the early adoption of privacy laws led public regulators and businesses to look for private regulations to reduce transaction costs and thus limited their interest in experimenting with new requirements. In the United States, businesses hoped to gain a first-mover advantage by including new data privacy rules in their private regulations. However, the growing use of private regulations to ease transnational data flows also led to their use as tools to reduce transaction costs.

    Voir la publication originale Voir la publication originale en format pdf

  • Guillaume Beaumier and Kevin Kalomeni. Accepted for publication. “Ruling Trough Technology : The Politics of Blockchain as a Service”, Review of International Political Economy.

    Next to artificial intelligence and big data, blockchains have emerged as one of the most oft-cited technologies associated with the digital economy. Leading technology companies have recently contributed to making the technology used more widely by developing integrated blockchain offerings. The emergence of such services yet strikingly clashes with the original stated goal of the technology to remove any form of central political authority, such as the one companies behind these new services can represent. How should we then understand the embrace of blockchains by companies that this technology was notably supposed to displace? Using the concept of infrastructure from Science and Technology Studies, we argue that these companies are not merely adopting the technology but actively promoting a new assemblage of socio-technical devices to reassert their authority over how information is exchanged online. Based on a comparative analysis of the technical documentation of Ethereum and Amazon Web Services (AWS) blockchain services, we highlight how actors contributing to building digital infrastructures regulate their users' behavior by affording them different capacities and constraints. We moreover show how by pursuing its commercial interest, AWS supported a corporate form of governance historically promoted by the United States to oversee the digital economy.

    Voir la publication originale

  • Beaumier, Guillaume. “Global Regulations for a Digital Economy: Between new and old challenges”, Global Policy, with Kevin Kalomeni, Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn, Marc Lenglet, Serena Natile, Marielle Papin, Daivi Rodima-Taylor, Arthur Silve and Falin Zhang.

    Digital technologies are often described as posing unique challenges for public regulators worldwide. Their fast-pace and technical nature is viewed as being incompatible with the relatively slow and territorially bounded public regulatory processes. In this paper, we argue that not all digital technologies pose the same challenges for public regulators. We more precisely maintain that the digital technologies’ label can be quite misleading as it actually represents a wide variety of technical artifacts. Based on two dimensions, the level of centralization and (im)material nature, we provide a typology of digital technologies that importantly highlights how different technical artifacts affect differently local, national, regional and global distributions of power. While some empower transnational businesses, others can notably reinforce states’ power. By emphasizing this, our typology contributes to ongoing discussions about the global regulation of a digital economy and helps us identify the various challenges that it might present for public regulators globally. At the same time, it allows us to reinforce previous claims that these are importantly not all new and that they often require to solve traditional cooperation problems.

    Voir la publication originale

  • Guillaume Beaumier, « Le Traité de Lisbonne et le droit international de l’investissement : L’évolution d’un nouveau modèle européen », Études internationales 47(4) : 365-86.

    Le droit international des investissements a connu une évolution exponentielle au cours des deux dernières décennies. Avec plus de 3 000 accords et une vaste jurisprudence, certains qualifient ce système de chaotique et instable. Les divergences entre traités bilatéraux d’investissement et les décisions contraires de tribunaux arbitraux donnent certes cette impression. Le présent article sur le développement du modèle de négociation de la Commission européenne, après l’entrée en vigueur du Traité de Lisbonne, démontre néanmoins que tout en étant un système décentralisé et flexible, le régime des investissements est en réalité dynamiquement stable et favorise une répétition des normes préexistantes. Le chapitre sur l’investissement du récent accord économique et commercial global (AECG) illustre en effet que tout en ayant eu l’occasion d’innover, la Commission européenne s’est largement inspirée du complexe institutionnel en place incluant notamment, mais pas uniquement, le modèle d’accord des États-Unis.

    Mots clés : Droit international des investissements, Union européenne, Institutions, Évolution juridique, systèmes complexes

    Foreign investment law (FIL) went through a tremendous evolution in the past two decades. With more than 3 000 agreements and a large corpus of case-law, some would qualify it as a chaotic and unstable system. Divergences between agreements and past arbitral decisions undoubtedly strengthen this perception. Nonetheless, this article on the development of the new European model for negotiating investment agreements following the Lisbon Treaty outlines that FIL is dynamically stable over time. In other words, while being flexible and opened for incremental changes, the investment regime also fosters a repetition of pre-existing norms. In fact, the recent text of the investment chapter of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) shows that even though the European Commission had the opportunity to innovate, the existing institutional complex surrounding FIL including, but not solely the American treaty model, largely inspired it.

    Keywords : Foreign investment law, European Union, Institutions, Legal evolution, Complex system

    Voir la publication originale Voir la publication originale en format pdf

Chapitres d’ouvrages collectifs

  • Beaumier, Guillaume. 2020. “Ruling in a Complex World : Private Regulatory Networks and the Export of European Data Protection Rules”, In Networks and the European Union: Threats and Opportunities of Complexity, eds. George Christou and Jacob Hasselbach, Routledge, submitted.

    Who regulates the global economy? This fundamental question has been puzzling many authors for quite some time now. As national and international markets get more integrated than ever, regulators all around the world are under increasing pressure to harmonize their regulations. The choice of the regulations around which they will is however not without consequences as it can have important distributive effects. The literature thus far has in the main analyzed this question by looking at the role of public actors. While recent work on the “Brussels’ effect” have highlighted that private actors can play a role in the export of European rules, the main explanatory variables of this approach remain attributes of the European Union (i.e. market size and regulatory capacity). As such, it does not really explain when and why private actors actually decide to actively promote rules created in a foreign jurisdiction. In this chapter, I argue that adopting a network approach can help fill this gap by giving more attention to the interactions between private actors. Looking at the case of data protection, I more precisely maintain that private regulatory networks involving both European and non-European private associations helped the EU export its rules across the Atlantic. While supportive of a functionalist extension explanation of how rules travel, I show that the EU also acted as a ‘classical foreign policy’ actor when it used its legal authority to shape the structure of the private regulatory network here at play.

  • Richard Ouellet « L’activité du Québec en matière de commerce international: de l’énonciation de la doctrine Gérin-Lajoie à la négociation de L’AECG », Revue québécoise de droit international, Hors-série Juin 2016 La doctrine Gérin-Lajoie : 50 ans d’actions internationales du Québec, 31 août 2016. 

    La doctrine énoncée par Paul Gérin-Lajoie en avril 1965 n’a pas vocation à s’étendre au commerce international ni à la protection des investissements. En effet, la seule lecture de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1867 suffit pour convaincre qu’il est difficile de prétendre que ces deux domaines d’activité relèvent des compétences internes ou externes des provinces canadiennes. Pourtant, force est de constater que l’expansion qu’a connue l’activité internationale du Québec ces cinquante dernières années, conjuguée à l’élargissement des thèmes couverts par les accords d’intégration économique, a amené le Québec à jouer un rôle significatif dans les arènes économiques et commerciales internationales. Par le pouvoir de mise en œuvre du contenu des accords internationaux qui découle des compétences législatives qui lui appartiennent, le Québec a pu être impliqué à divers titres dans la négociation d’importants accords de partenariat économique tel que l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG) signé entre le Canada et l’Union européenne. Le Québec fut aussi associé de près au règlement d’importants différends commerciaux auxquels le Canada était partie devant l’Organe de règlement des différends de l’Organisation mondiale du commerce ou devant des instances créées par l’ALENA. De la même façon, il fut consulté au premier chef dans le règlement de plaintes portées par des investisseurs étrangers dans le cadre d’arbitrages investisseur-État. L’activité internationale du Québec en matières économique et commerciale s’est aussi manifestée par la signature d’ententes intergouvernementales en matière de marchés publics ou pour la création d’un marché nord-américain du carbone. Le Québec a pu, au fil du temps, développer puis augmenter son influence sur l’élaboration et l’application des accords de commerce. Il est à souhaiter que les négociations du Partenariat transpacifique, pendant lesquelles les provinces canadiennes ont été largement reléguées aux coulisses, ne sont pas annonciatrices d’un recul à cet égard.

    The doctrine Paul Gérin-Lajoie launched in April 1965 is not intended to extend to international trade nor to the protection of investments. Indeed, the reading of the 1867 Constitutional Act convinces its readers that it is difficult to claim that these two fields fall under the internal or external jurisdiction of the Canadian provinces. However, it must be recognized that the expansion of Quebec’s international activity during the past 50 years, combined with the broadening of the themes covered by economic integration agreements, have brought Quebec to play a significant role within the international economic and commercial arenas. Through its implementation powers for the contents of international agreements, derived from the legislative jurisdiction it holds, Quebec has been involved in numerous manners in the negotiation of important economic partnership agreements, such as theComprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) signed between Canada and the European Union. Quebec was also closely involved in the resolution of important commercial disputes to which Canada was a party before the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization or before bodies created under NAFTA. Similarly, the province was consulted for the resolution of complaints brought by foreign investors in the framework of investor-state arbitrations. Quebec’s international activity in economic and commercial matters has also manifested itself through the signature of intergovernmental agreements on public markets or the creation of a North American carbon market. Quebec has progressively developed and increased its influence on the elaboration and implementation of commercial agreements. Hopefully, the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, during which Canadian provinces were largely relegated to the sidelines, do not herald a setback in this respect.

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