Using Private Regulation for the Public Good

  • Flavia DonadelliEmail author
  • Kira Matus
Living reference work entry


Regulations by non-state organizations are a well-established tool of contemporary global governance. While they are not directly initiated or promoted by governments, private governance mechanisms are promising tools for the promotion of the traditional goals of public administration. Their overall potential to promote the public good has, however, been contested in the recent literature. Some scholars have been decisive in emphasizing the potentially negative consequences of relying on non-state regulation in the absence of robust public institutions and relatively consensual public regulatory environments. This chapter engages with and advances this debate by asserting that there is still a large potential for non-state regulations to independently promote the public good and even contribute to the enhancement of governments’ effectiveness in contexts of low state capacity. It highlights four ways in which private regulation has been found to promote the public good: (1) by promoting regulatory innovation that serves as pilots or “enzymes” for larger-scale public regulatory changes, (2) by channelling positive incentives from international markets to local producers, (3) by directly providing enforcement capacity and monitoring tools to low-capacity states, and finally (4) as mechanisms that help in the production and sharing of knowledge and best practices around the world.


Private regulation Public good Governance Administrative capacity 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of GovernmentVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Division of Public Policy, Division of Environment and Sustainability, and Division of Social ScienceHong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong KongHong Kong

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jeroen van der Heijden
    • 1
  1. 1.School of GovernmentVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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