How private groups increasingly set public policy and regulate lives—with little public knowledge or attention.
From accrediting doctors and lawyers to setting industry and professional standards, private groups establish many of the public policies in today’s advanced societies. Yet this important role of nongovernmental groups is largely ignored by those who study, teach, or report on public policy issues. Public Policymaking by Private Organizations sheds light on policymaking by private groups, which are not accountable to the general public or, often, even to governments.
This book brings to life the hidden world of policymaking by providing an overview of this phenomenon and in-depth case studies in the areas of finance, food safety, and certain professions. Far from being merely self regulation or self-governance, policymaking by private groups, for good or ill, can have a substantial impact on the broader public—from ensuring the safety of our home electrical appliances to vetting the credit-worthiness of complex financial instruments in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.
From nonprofit associations to multinational corporations, private policymaking groups are everywhere. They certify professionals as competent, establish industry regulations, and set technical and professional standards. But because their operations lack the transparency and accountability required of governmental bodies, these organizations comprise a policymaking territory that is largely unseen, unreported, uncharted, and not easily reconciled with democratic principles. Anyone concerned about how policies are made—and who makes them—should read this book.