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Authority Pooling And Regional Organic Agriculture Standard-Setting: Evidence From East Africa

Sandra Schwindenhammer
Published 2016 · Economics

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Abstract A key characteristic of global organic agriculture governance through standards is the coexistence of regulatory fragmentation and regional integration. To reduce barriers to organic trade, especially for market participants from developing countries, international and transnational entrepreneurs increasingly promote the setting of organic agriculture standards (OAS) in different world regions, for example, in East Africa, the Pacific, or Asia. Although scholars from different disciplines have done a lot of research on the role of standards in global governance, we still know little about why and how regional standard-setting processes evolve. Applying findings from regime analysis, entrepreneurship, and political authority, the article introduces the concept of authority pooling. It argues that legal, moral, and technical authority sources interact in a blurred functional division of labour between the public and the private sector in standard-setting. The article presents results from a within-case study of the development of the East African Organic Products Standard using the process-tracing method. It detects the underlying causal mechanism by which international and transnational entrepreneurs pooled different authority sources and, thus, significantly influenced political actors in East Africa to set the first regional OAS in the developing world.
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