Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 December 2016
Scholars of morality policy change primarily analyse state regulation. Through this narrow focus, they ignore private actors and their varying engagement across time and policies. We contribute to this research gap by comparing and explaining private actors’ involvement in euthanasia and prostitution policy in Germany. We argue that the extent of private engagement is determined by the private actors’ capacity to govern, governmental decision-making barriers and private actors’ interests. Thus, the present study makes an empirical contribution to the literature on private governance by exploring largely disregarded policy issues that are least-likely cases for the delegation of public regulatory competence. Furthermore, it adds to the morality policy literature in a theoretical way by showing that policy change in this field is not only a question of scope, timing and direction but also one of the types of governing actors.