Rethinking Private Authority: Agents and Entrepreneurs in Global Environmental Governance

  • Winner, 2015 International Studies Association Harold and Margaret Sprout Award
  • Winner, 2015 American Political Science Association Lynton Keith Caldwell Award
  • Winner, 2015 International Political Science Association Levine Prize for contribution to the field of public policy and administration
  • Reviewed in Global Environmental Politics, Human Rights Review, International Journal of Constitutional Law, International Journal of Environmental Studies, Perspectives on Politics, Review of Policy Research

“The most important book yet written on private authority in world politics” according to one IR scholar, this book 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. It identifies two 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. Using new data compiled from the environmental arena, it examines the trajectory of private authority over the past century. It offers a “compelling supply-and-demand account of when particular forms of private authority are likely to appear.” Two case studies on climate change demonstrate provide a history of private authority in the climate regime, and additional evidence in support of the theory.