Regulation, Public Attitudes, and Private Governance
16 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, (Forthcoming 2019)
41 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2018 Last revised: 1 Jan 2019
Date Written: February 15, 2018
Corporate adoption of politically contestable practices (e.g., sustainable forestry; cage-free eggs) are increasingly common. In two studies, we empirically explore the relationship between corporate practices and subsequent public support for legislation mandating such practices. One hypothesis is that public support for new legislation decreases following corporate action because the private sector is perceived to be adequately managing the problem, thus obviating the need for a legislative response. A competing hypothesis is that public support for new legislation increases because people are prompted to recognize the issue in question as one in need of regulation. Our results suggest that announced changes to corporate practices can increase public support for legislation, but the effects differ depending on the political orientation of the perceiver. Legislators might fruitfully integrate corporate endorsements into public information efforts.
Keywords: private governance, private politics, food law & policy, consumer attitudes & behavior, social movements, environmental law & policy
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation