Stakeholder scrutiny, urban bias, and the private provision of public goods

Elizabeth Chrun, Daniel Berliner, Aseem Prakash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


While many scholars have studied urban bias in public policy, the potential for bias in the private provision of public goods has received little attention. Private certification is a mechanism encouraging private provision of environmental public goods. We show that within countries, there are often wide disparities in certification rates between firms located in urban and non-urban areas. However, these disparities can be mitigated if there is a countervailing force: scrutiny of firms' practices by key stakeholders. We suggest that the presence of strong civil society, independent media, a functioning state regulatory apparatus, and multinational owners can ameliorate the urban bias in certification uptakes. We test this argument with global, firm-level data covering over 40,000 firms in ninety-three countries. Our analyses suggest that an urban bias is mitigated when stakeholders - both public and private - have the freedom and capacity to scrutinize firms' activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-300
Number of pages28
JournalBusiness and Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • environmental governance
  • information
  • private regulation
  • urban bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Political Science and International Relations


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