Debating Private Authority in Public Policy


On 22-23 March the VELUX Endowed Chair hosted the second Workshop on Private Authority and Public Policy at Copenhagen Business School.


On the heels of the success of the first Private Authority and Public Policy in Global Context network meeting at Yale University, a group of international scholars from universities near and far gathered at Copenhagen Business School for the second workshop on the theme. The workshop was international in flavor (participants came from North America and Europe) and reflected a range of scholars with diverse academic interests and expertise (e.g. political science, sociology etc.).

The network was hosted by Professor Ben Cashore, Yale University, Professor Hamish van der Ven, McGill University, Professor Jette Steen Knudsen, Tufts University and Professor Jeremy Moon, Copenhagen Business School. It was supported by Yale University, the VELUX Endowed Chair in Corporate Sustainability and a Danish International Network Programme Grant from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

Over the course of the two-day workshop, scholars presented papers on the potential and limits of interactions between private and public regulation on public policy issues. Presentations and discussions were both broad in discussing the macro-context for private and public authority and narrow in discussing specific issues which international supply chains are fraught with.

The workshop kicked off with a presentation by Professor Ben Cashore, Yale University who asked scholars to consider their own responsibility in conceptualizing the nature of the problem and sometimes the (mis) application of the solution. This thread was carried through by presentations and discussions on the extent to which private and public interactions have been successful in governing transnational business with empirical cases on e.g. corruption, labor standards, deforestation and their corresponding regulation mechanisms.

The overall impact of dichotomies such as mandatory and voluntary regulation including litigation, certifications and standards to address these issues, the way in which these mechanisms might reinforce eachother and the relevant contexts (e.g. North-South) which have at times been absent from the analysis was also debated. The workshop came full circle with a final presentation by Professor Jette Knudsen and Professor Jeremy Moon on international CSR and different recipes of “direct” and “indirect” government policies which support it and might be applied to fit both the dynamic nature and breadth of problems outlined by Cashore on the first day.

A Special Issue which speaks to the progress and pitfalls of Private Authority and Public Policy is being prepared.

The page was last edited by: Department of Management, Society and Communication // 10/08/2019