Geneva, Switzerland
2 Place de Bel-Air Genève Genève 1204 CH

Originating from advanced economies, many private governance programs are gradually introduced to developing countries where global production increasingly consolidates. However, very little research attempts to uncover whether transnational private governance is able to “trade up” environmental standards in these countries. My dissertation seeks to bridge this gap by examining factors which determine variation in China’s uptake of transnational private governance for different environmental issues. Theoretically, China is a critical case because of its political institutions, thus the project also investigates whether the authoritarian regime only leaves very limited space for private governance in China as is often assumed. The project will develop a dataset on the private governance programs having been introduced in China, and test hypotheses on driving forces for Chinese firms’ participation through statistical analyses and paired case studies. By exploring the causes of the success or failure of private environmental governance in China, along with dynamic public-private interactions between private governance and state regulation there, the project will contribute to the scholarship on environmental governance and private authority, on the one hand, and on international relations and Chinese politics, on the other.

Lead organization:
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Study sector:
Agriculture, Forestry, Seafood
Agriculture focus:
Tea, Palm oil, Cotton
Forestry focus:
Timber, Pulp, Paper
Seafood focus:
Aquaculture, Wild capture fisheries
Study design & methods:
Quantitative collection and analysis methods, Qualitative collection and analysis methods
Study scope:
Environmental issues
Primary Research Funders:
Swiss National Science Foundation
Name of lead contact:
Yixian Sun