This project explores the political implications of the growing influence of international standards in globalisation, taking the case of the service sector as a distinct field of study. The analysis relies on global political economy approaches, which try to identify constitutive patterns of authority mediating between the political and the economic spheres on a transnational space. It extends to the area of service standards the assumption that the process of globalisation is not opposing states and markets, but a joint expression of both of them including new patterns and agents of structural change through formal and informal power and regulatory practices. The research combines cross-institutional and sectoral analyses. It targets the most important international institutions involved in the devolution of power of service standards. It focuses on a sample of four sectoral case studies selected with either high or low values on the main characteristics differentiating the service economy. Higher education and call/contact centres exemplify areas with rather high relational intensity, immateriality, end-user-orientation and labour intensity. In contrast, transport systems and non-life insurance (in general and emerging liabilities) epitomise industries with low relational intensity, a greater materiality, a strong business-oriented implication, and capital intensity.