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Keywords:

  • co-regulation;
  • fisheries certification;
  • forest certification;
  • governance interactions;
  • private authority

Abstract

Research has recognized that states enable or constrain private governance initiatives, but we still know too little about the interactions between private and public authority in the governance of various social and environmental problems. This article examines how states have responded to the emergence of forest and fisheries certification programs, and how state responses have influenced the subsequent development of these programs. It is argued that historical and structural differences in the management of forest and fisheries have resulted in divergent state responses to certification programs, but that both trajectories of interaction have led to a strengthening of the non-state program. The article draws upon these cases to inductively identify types of interaction between state policies and non-state certification programs, the causal mechanisms that shed light on interaction dynamics, and the conditions under which state involvement is likely to result in either strengthening or weakening of non-state programs.