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Stakeholder scrutiny, urban bias, and the private provision of public goods

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Abstract

While many scholars have studied “urban bias” in public policy, the potential for bias in the private provision of public goods has received little attention. Private certification is a mechanism encouraging private provision of environmental public goods. We show that within countries, there are often wide disparities in certification rates between firms located in urban and non-urban areas. However, these disparities can be mitigated if there is a countervailing force: scrutiny of firms' practices by key stakeholders. We suggest that the presence of strong civil society, independent media, a functioning state regulatory apparatus, and multinational owners can ameliorate the urban bias in certification uptakes. We test this argument with global, firm-level data covering over 40,000 firms in ninety-three countries. Our analyses suggest that an urban bias is mitigated when stakeholders—both public and private—have the freedom and capacity to scrutinize firms' activities.

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... Moreover, the growth of manufacturing industries also leads to the emergence of spatially concentrated and organized constituencieslabor organizations and industry groups. As the literature suggests, organized communities tend to have a more significant influence on the political process (Grossman & Helpman, 1996;Walker, 1983;Wallace, 2013;Chrun, Berliner, & Prakash, 2018). Locational factors work toward strengthening urban political power as well. ...
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Voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) are institutions for inducing firms to produce environmental goods beyond legal requirements. A comparative perspective on VEPs shows how incentives to sponsor and participate in VEPs vary across countries in ways that reveal their potential and limitations. Our brief survey examines conditions under which VEPs emerge, attract participants, and improve participants' environmental performance. We focus on the costs and bene-fits for actors seeking to supply (or sponsor) these governance mechanisms as well as the costs and benefits for firms who are considering joining VEPs and adhering to their program obligations. © 2011 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.
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Quality management (QM) and environmental management (EM) are two business practices that may affect firm performance. These practices are being increasingly introduced into firms, which often use them jointly owing to their similarities. As a result of these similarities, their integration has become a popular topic of research and practice. In the field of integration, the highest level of integration may be achieved by means of a single, full QM–EM system (QEM) in which QM and EM lose their independence. It is therefore desirable to identify dimensions from which to assess these management practices and their effects on performance. The aim of this paper is to carry out a literature review in order to propose and analyse dimensions for QM, EM, QEM and firm performance, as well as models of cause–effect relationships between these variables. The topics reviewed are the following: (1) the QM and EM dimensions; (2) the empirical studies about QM–performance and EM–performance links; and (3) issues of integration. The review suggests that the large body of QM research may inform EM and QEM. This is so because research on the QM side is more advanced and developed than that on the EM side.
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Scholars and practitioners alike have stressed the important role of transparency in promoting international regime compliance and effectiveness. Yet many regimes fail to create high levels of transparency: governments and nongovernmental actors regularly fail to monitor or report on their own behavior, the behavior of other actors, or the state of the problem these regimes seek to resolve. If more transparency often, if not always, contributes to regime effectiveness, then identifying the sources of transparency becomes an important research task. Regime transparency depends upon both the demand for information and the supply of information. Specifically, regimes can seek “effectiveness-oriented” information to assess whether regime members are collectively achieving regime goals or “compliance-oriented” information to assess whether particular actors are individually fulfilling regime commitments. The incentives and capacities that relevant actors—whether governments, nongovernmental organizations, or corporate actors—have to provide such information depend on whether the regime's information system is structured around self-reporting, other-reporting, or problem-reporting. Although many of these factors are determined by characteristics of the actors involved or the structure of the problem, regimes can increase transparency by enhancing the incentives and capacity actors have to contribute to a particular regime's transparency.