Aseem Prakash
U. of Washington-Seattle



(Friday, 23rd May 2014)

Title : Voluntary Environmental Regulation: A Collective Action Perspective

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Voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) are institutions that encourage participating actors to incur private costs to produce environmental public goods beyond the requirements of government law. Program by program, scholars have studied conditions under which firms join these programs and the factors that influence their efficacy. Scholars find that while some programs are “greenwashes” that do little to encourage firms to do little or nothing to improve their environmental performance, others require participants to take progressive environmental action, leading them to improve their environmental performance.

VEPs are collective endeavors. Drawing on the club approach, the workshop will examine four collective action challenges facing VEPs. First, sponsoring actors must be motivated to invest resources to create a VEP despite incentives to free ride on the efforts of others. Second, VEPs need to be designed to offer firms sufficient excludable incentives to join them. Third, VEPs need monitoring and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that participants adhere to program obligations and do not free ride on the efforts of other participants. Fourth, VEPs and their sponsors need to motivate stakeholders to compensate firms for producing environmental public goods. This workshop will examine how different VEPs address these challenges.

Bibliographical references :

Must read reference : Green Clubs: Collective Action and Voluntary Environmental Programs. Annual Review of Political Science, 2013, 16: 399-419.

Global Private Regimes, Domestic Public Law: ISO 14001 and Pollution Reduction.
Comparative Political Studies, 2014, 47(3): 369-394

From Norms to Programs: The United Nations Global Compact and Global Governance. Regulation & Governance, 2012, 6(2): 149-166.

Investing Up: FDI and the Cross-National Diffusion of ISO 14001. International Studies Quarterly, 2007, 51(3): 723-744.

Recommended : Trust but Verify? Voluntary Regulation Programs in the Nonprofit Sector. Regulation & Governance, 2010, 4(1): 22?47