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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Increasing fragmentation in the global economy has been accompanied by a rise in the use of private standards. Technical standards created by companies and standards-writing organizations facilitate coordination and enable elaborate divisions of labor of the sort evident in the electronics industry. Standards are also used for control. Private standards schemes specify rules of behavior and develop mechanisms to monitor and enforce them. Schemes address issues such as product safety, environmental and social impacts, and sustainability. They are developed and adopted by many different actors and actor coalitions, including businesses, NGOs, and governments. They respond to the regulatory challenges created by global fragmentation, but also use the opportunities offered by interdependencies within global value chains to enable cross-border control over how products are produced and their social and environmental impacts. The multiplicity of actors and interests involved in standards development leads to the proliferation of standards and competition between them.

Keywords: private standards, globalization, fragmentation, outsourcing, regulation, third-party certification, global value chain, proliferation, food safety, sustainability

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