Regulation, Public Attitudes, and Private Governance

41 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2018 Last revised: 1 Jan 2019

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 15, 2018

Abstract

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

Dana, David A. and Nadler, Janice, Regulation, Public Attitudes, and Private Governance (February 15, 2018). Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 18-07; Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 18-06; 16 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, (Forthcoming 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3124454 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3124454

David A. Dana

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-0240 (Phone)
312-503-2035 (Fax)

Janice Nadler (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - School of Law

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-3228 (Phone)
312-503-2035 (Fax)

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611

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