By Matthew Potoski, Aseem Prakash
A conceptual framework and empirical case stories of the coverage impact of voluntary courses backed by means of undefined, govt, and nongovernmental firms.
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Extra info for Voluntary Programs: A Club Theory Perspective
Why might this happen? Suppose some ﬁrms decide to reduce pollution. As the word spreads, this generates a warm glow (see chapter 4) about the environmental consciousness of ﬁrms in general (or perhaps in an industry, if these ﬁrms were in a single industry). Firms have the incentive to free ride because all ﬁrms would bask in the warmth of this glow. The subset of ﬁrms that incurred costs to create the warm glow in the ﬁrst place is essentially subsidizing the goodwill that all ﬁrms receive. A ﬁrm might be willing to produce more social externalities if the beneﬁts of its actions were not shared among all ﬁrms but instead went only to the one ﬁrm.
It is therefore important for voluntary clubs to establish monitoring and enforcement mechanisms that reduce information asymmetries, and signal to club members that their adherence to club obligations is under scrutiny and their shirking will be sanctioned. Creating monitoring mechanisms increases the costs of governing a voluntary program. Club sponsors need to make careful assessment of the marginal beneﬁts of increasing monitoring stringency. We identify three components to effective and credible monitoring and enforcement systems: third-party monitoring, public disclosure of audit information, A Club Theory Approach to Voluntary Programs 27 and sanctioning by program sponsors.
To produce effective voluntary collective action, the participating actors need to share the costs and beneﬁts of their actions. By and large, collective action is likely to fail if some actors want to reap the beneﬁts but not share the costs. Indeed, Olson’s (1965) insight was that collective action is undermined by free-riding actors who seek to enjoy the beneﬁts of collective action without paying for them. Thus, for successful voluntary collective action, rule systems need to curb free riding.