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Can Technological Innovations Improve Private Regulation in the Global Economy?

  • Graeme Auld (a1), Benjamin Cashore (a2), Cristina Balboa (a3), Laura Bozzi (a2) and Stefan Renckens (a2)...

Those supplying private regulation in the global economy face two fundamental challenges if they are to ameliorate the problems for which they create these systems: targets must conform to, while demanders must have proof of, regulatory compliance. This paper explores an important area absent from assessments as to whether, when, and how, private regulatory bodies are successful in improving behavior and rewarding compliant firms: the role of technological innovations. Employing an inductive, comparative case study analysis, we offer an analytical framework that distinguishes technological innovations that improve tracking mechanisms from innovations that directly improve on-the-ground performance. We illustrate the utility of the analytical framework through an assessment of technological innovations in shaping “non-state market driven” global certification programs governing forestry, fisheries, coffee, e-waste, and climate.

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