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Rethinking Private Authority:
Agents and Entrepreneurs in Global Environmental Governance
Jessica F. Green

Winner of the 2015 Levine Prize, International Political Science Association’s Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government
Winner of the 2014-2015 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award, Environmental Studies Section of the International Studies Association
Winner of the 2015 Lynton Keith Caldwell Prize, Science, Technology, and Environmental Politics Section of the American Political Science Association

Paperback | 2013 | $26.95 | £21.95 | ISBN: 9780691157597
Hardcover | 2013 | $82.50 | £69.95 | ISBN: 9780691157580
232 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 7 line illus. 11 tables.
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Rethinking Private Authority examines the role of non-state actors in global environmental politics, arguing that a fuller understanding of their role requires a new way of conceptualizing private authority. Jessica Green identifies two distinct forms of private authority--one in which states delegate authority to private actors, and another in which entrepreneurial actors generate their own rules, persuading others to adopt them.

Drawing on a wealth of empirical evidence spanning a century of environmental rule making, Green shows how the delegation of authority to private actors has played a small but consistent role in multilateral environmental agreements over the past fifty years, largely in the area of treaty implementation. This contrasts with entrepreneurial authority, where most private environmental rules have been created in the past two decades. Green traces how this dynamic and fast-growing form of private authority is becoming increasingly common in areas ranging from organic food to green building practices to sustainable tourism. She persuasively argues that the configuration of state preferences and the existing institutional landscape are paramount to explaining why private authority emerges and assumes the form that it does. In-depth cases on climate change provide evidence for her arguments.

Groundbreaking in scope, Rethinking Private Authority demonstrates that authority in world politics is diffused across multiple levels and diverse actors, and it offers a more complete picture of how private actors are helping to shape our response to today's most pressing environmental problems.


"In this pioneering work, Green explores how governmental and private actors can work together to institute regulations to address global environmental problems. . . . [I]ts conclusions have implications for the entire field of international relations. The work is carefully argued, clearly written, and supported by an extensive bibliography."--Choice

"The author has to be acclaimed for her ability to wade through hundreds if not thousands of documents, verify their authenticity and reach conclusions on the variety of measures taken by the private sector in cooperation with governments, international organisations or independently, to discharge their responsibility toward containing emissions."--Madras Sivaraman, International Journal of Environmental Studies

"[Green] offer[s] novel and insightful empirical descriptions of the operation of private authority in contemporary global governance."--Elizabeth Acorn, Global Law Books

"Offer[s] a persuasive framework for identifying and analyzing private authority at the international level. The usefulness of the framework is illustrated here by extended empirical studies."--Kathryn Hochstetler, Perspectives on Politics


"This book is an important contribution to our understanding of private authority in global governance. Conceptually, Green clarifies the forms that private authority takes; empirically, she provides valuable new data on the operation of private authority over time; and theoretically, she introduces a compelling supply-and-demand account of when particular forms of private authority are likely to appear. Her analysis reveals many of the strengths and weaknesses of private rule making and its complex relationship with state authority."--Kenneth W. Abbott, Arizona State University

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Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi
Acronyms xiii
Introduction 1
Chapter 1. A Theory of Private Authority 26
Chapter 2. Agents of the State: A Century of Delegation in International Environmental Law 54
Chapter 3. Governors of the Market: The Evolution of Entrepreneurial Authority 78
Chapter 4. Atmospheric Police: Delegated Authority in the Clean Development Mechanism 104
Chapter 5. Atmospheric Accountants: Entrepreneurial Authority and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol 132
Chapter 6. Conclusion 163
Bibliography 183
Index 207

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