Chaire de recherche du Canada en ÉPI

Université Laval


Guillaume Beaumier effectue actuellement son doctorat en cotutelle entre l'Université de Warwick en Angleterre et l'Université Laval. Son sujet de thèse porte sur l'évolution de la gouvernance internationale de l'économie numérique. Il tente plus particulièrement de comprendre quels acteurs ont le plus d'influence dans la création des normes applicables à la protection des données. Avant d'amorcer son doctorat, il a obtenu une maîtrise en étude internationales de l'Université Laval pour laquelle il a été ajouté au tableau d'honneur de la faculté des sciences sociales. Son essai de maitrise a maintenant été publié sous forme d'article scientifique dans la revue Études Internationales. En parallèle à ses études, il a aussi agi à titre de consultant externe chez McKinsey & Co., analyste junior à l'Ambassade du Canada à Washington, comme auxiliaire de recherche pour différents professeurs et comme page à l'Assemblée nationale du Québec. Il a aussi travaillé pour la Clinique de droit international pénal et humanitaire (CDIPH) de l’Université Laval et gagné le prix du meilleur plaideur à la 30e édition du Concours de procès simulé en droit international Charles-Rousseau. Il a finalement effectué un séjour d'un an en Finlande au cours de son baccalauréat.

Intérêts de recherche

Économie politique internationale; Gouvernance; Institutions; Protection des données; Commerce électronique;  Investissement; Complexité

Cours enseignés

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

Projet de recherche en cours

1. Ph.D. Thesis: « The Evolution of Privacy Regulation: Convergence and Divergence in the Transatlantic Space »

Abstract: This thesis explores the evolution of privacy regulations in the transatlantic space since the adoption of the European Data Directive in 1995 up until the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation in 2016. In doing so, it more specifically investigates how the rules governing the use of personal data by private companies in the United States and the European Union were formed through the interactions between public and private actors in both jurisdictions. Looking at the process of rule formation, previous works have traditionally viewed national regulatory systems as discrete units of analysis that could affect one another and yet always remained fundamentally distinct. The starting point of this thesis is different. It considers that each jurisdiction's regulatory process is continuously shaped by decisions taken in the other and that through their interactions they actually form a complex governance system that evolves based on two joint processes: exploitation and exploration. The former emphasizes that privacy regulators will generally tend to exploit the data protection rules of those with whom they previously had direct interactions. Meanwhile, the latter highlights that when preexisting rules prove to be insufficient, privacy regulators will explore new ones based on the very same interactions and relation to the broader system. The formation of data protection rules is thus always understood in relational or systemic terms, rather than an individual process. Based on a mix of content and network analysis, I further demonstrate that by exploiting preexisting rules private actors offered a new institutional avenue for public rules to cross national frontiers and promote greater regulatory convergence. At the same time, the multiplication of privacy regulations and data protection rules adopted by private actors created second-order information asymmetries, which in turn limited their interest in exploring new ideas and experimenting with new data protection rules. In addition to contributing to the literature on privacy and introducing a novel database on data protection rules adopted over the last 20 years in the transatlantic area, this thesis highlights how growing economic interdependence upends national regulatory processes and brings into question many of the assumed boundaries in the study of international political economy.

2. Ruling through Technology: Politicizing Blockchain  as a Services (with Kevin Kalomeni)

Abstract: Next to artificial intelligence and big data, blockchains have emerged as one of the most oft-cited technology associated with the digital economy. As of now, Mmany large businesses indeed proudly claim to be either using or activelyor in the process of developing their own blockchains to reduce transaction costs and promote a more decentralized economy. Following on this trend, large technological companies have started to have in recent years started to offer what they call Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS). The latter is represent an integrated offering allowing companies to use blockchain technology without having to actually build their own onsitein-house and is purportedly aimed to promote the broader use of blockchains in the global economy. More than simply allowing the development of new products and servicesbeing about the promotion of blockchain technology or even the gain of market shares in a new service industry, we argue in this paper that as it is too often assumed, the development of digital newblockchain technologiesBaaS gives new private actors the ability opportunity toto increasingly challenge pre-established market players and structures. Fights over the adoption design and adoption of new technologies are in effect not just about economic gains, but also the power to regulate and establishrepresents an attempt by large corporations at establishing a competing socio-technical economic systemssystems and to the one promoted by theregulate their users so as to undermine the goals of the  early designers of blockchain technologies. By contributing to define how other economic agents can behave, designers of new technologies effectively end up acting act as regulators. As such, Blockchainblockchain technologies should not be seen as simple technical innovations. Following an in-depth  content analysis of the main technical documentation of the blockchain-based services of Ethereum and Amazonthe technical characteristics of Ethereum and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Blockchainblockchain services, this paperwe more precisely show how by developing theirits own blockchains corporate actorsitaims to regulate itstheir users’ behavior and upenduphold the current “state – market condominium”, the very thing that early blockchain designers like the one behind Ethereum hoped to challenge. This illustrates the key influence of individuals or organizations maintaining and connecting socio-technical systems to broader infrastructures in the global economy.   

3. Private Authority and Regulatory Novelty: A ‘Complex’ Relationship

Abstract: Industry self-regulations are regularly hailed as having the potential to enhance public institutions by providing them much needed flexibility and the capacity to adapt to changes occurring ‘on the ground’. In this paper, I question the extent to which industry self-regulations promote regulatory novelties or simply implement their legal requirements. Based on a longitudinal analysis of 126 public and private privacy regulations adopted in the European Union and the United States since 1995 and 36 semi-structured interviews, I show that private actors did create rules complementing those found in privacy laws. At the same time, I point out that these regulatory novelties were temporally limited and still primarily aimed to specify broad principles previously enunciated by public authorities. I argue that this limited contribution are a by-product of the multiplication regulations that created second-order information asymmetries. This highlights that while a complex environment is often an essential condition for novelty to emerge, it can become an hindrance to it depending on regulators’ logic. 

Articles scientifiques

  • 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.

  • 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

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.

Rapports et documents de politique