For Immediate Release: August 21, 2001
Contact: Julie Shaw, 202-939-2211

New Book from the Carnegie Endowment

A Public Role for the Private Sector:
Industry Self-Regulation in a Global Economy

By Virginia Haufler

"Anyone seeking to become better informed about the changing role of business in the modern world should read this book." Debora L. Spar, Harvard Business School

"Breaks new ground. . . . The rich case material makes this book essential reading for understanding the role of business in the 21st century." George Kell, UN Office of the Global Compact

In the past decade, multinational corporations have rushed to develop new codes of conduct on issues ranging from the use of sweatshop labor to factory carbon emission levels to privacy on the Internet. Such industry self-regulation has raised criticism from those who dismiss the new approach as a public relations ploy. Others consider these voluntary initiatives to be weak because they lack any means of enforcement and accountability. Supporters view industry self-regulation as a means to reconcile globalization with a concern for social and environmental values.

A Public Role for the Private Sector is the first book to explore this self-regulation phenomenon on an international level across three different policy arenas?environment, labor, and information privacy. Author Virginia Haufler examines private sector motivations and mechanisms and addresses three questions raised by this trend: (1) Why would industry go beyond what is required by national and international regulation and put significant constraints on its own behavior? (2) How do the participants in self-regulation deal with issues of enforcement, accountability, transparency, and credibility? (3) How should governments and publics view these industry activities?

Haufler examines the common factors that drive firms toward self-regulation, the variety of commitments undertaken, and the tensions that arise between public and private interests. She concludes by discussing the challenges industry self-regulation poses for governments and non-governmental organizations and by raising its implications for global governance.

Virginia Haufler, associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, was a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment where she started its Project on the Role of the Private Sector.

A Public Role for the Private Sector: Industry Self-Regulation in a Global Economy
Virginia Haufler
Published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
August 2001/160 pages
$16.95 /paperback: 0-87003-176-7 (plus tax and shipping)
To order call: 1-800-275-1447 or 202-797-6258 or visit



By Virginia Haufler

Table of Contents

Foreword, Jessica T. Mathews

Chapter 1. Public and Private Interests in Global Regulation: An Overview
of the Issues

  • The Context for Industry Self-Regulation
  • Globalization and Changes in the Character of Business
  • A Survey of International Regulation of Multinational Corporations
  • Factors Driving Industry Self-Regulation: Risk, Reputation, and Learning

Chapter 2. The Case of International Environmental Protection

  • Environmental Codes, Management Systems, and Programs
  • Risk, Reputation, and Learning
  • Enforcement, Accountability, and Participation

Chapter 3. The Case of Labor Standards Abroad

  • Codes of Conduct, Ethical Trade, and Monitoring Programs
  • Risk, Reputation, and Learning
  • Consensus, Enforcement, and Accountability

Chapter 4. The Case of Information Privacy

  • Industry Self-Regulation, Privacy Codes, and New Technology
  • Risk, Reputation, and Learning
  • Enforcement, Certification, and Accountability

Chapter 5. The Evolution of New Global Rules

  • The Cases: Environment, Labor, and Information
  • The Challenges of Industry Self-Regulation
  • Industry Self-Regulation and Global Governance

About the Author
About the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

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