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Abstract

New governance scholarship argues that a blend of public and private regulation is playing an increasing role in influencing firm behavior. Despite its burgeoning growth, new governance scholarship is critiqued as lacking practical examples. This Article begins to fill that void by conducting a new institutional economics analysis of forest sustainability certifications, an example of new governance. This Article analyzes the features of the domestic forest industry to trace why new governance emerged within it and has persisted for over seventy years. The industrial characteristics that contribute to this longstanding new governance regime include strong norms within the industry, a resource-type that favors user-developed rules, and robust competition among private actors to regulate the industry. These findings suggest that new governance may emerge as a regulatory tool to address environmental problems in other industries that possess similar characteristics. The Article also sheds light into the broader discussion of how to measure the “success” of new governance regimes. It identifies stakeholder involvement relative to the democratic process and displacement of other regulatory tools as two key considerations in evaluating new governance approaches.

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