IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Search for Credible Information in Social and Environmental Global Governance: The Kosher Label


  • Starobin Shana

    (Duke University)

  • Weinthal Erika

    (Duke University)


Hundreds of eco-labels and social labels exist for consumer products. These labels claim to provide information about characteristics of these products, which consumers cannot directly observe but which many of them consider desirable, such as low environmental impact, good treatment of workers during production, and relatively high prices paid to the local producers of ingredients from developing countries. Third-party certifiers are supposed to solve the well-known problem that a producer's unilateral declarations lack credibility, given the producer's conflict of interest and the information asymmetries between producer and consumer. Much of the literature on global private regulationthrough standards for environmental sustainability, corporate social responsibility, among othersassumes that third-party certification works (i.e., overcomes the problems of producer self-declaration). But closer inspection shows that many third-party certifiers lack credibility. This article examines why some third party certifiers are more credible than others. In doing so, we elucidate the ways in which social capital and trust bolster third party certifiers credibility. The empirical analysis focuses primarily on Kosher food labels within the global food supply chain. We then explore the consequences of the credibility paradox for other third party certified labels that promote social and environmental values.

Suggested Citation

  • Starobin Shana & Weinthal Erika, 2010. "The Search for Credible Information in Social and Environmental Global Governance: The Kosher Label," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-37, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:12:y:2010:i:3:n:8

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tim Büthe & Walter Mattli, 2011. "The New Global Rulers: The Privatization of Regulation in the World Economy," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9470.
    2. Peter Dicken & Markus Hassler, 2000. "Organizing the Indonesian clothing industry in the global economy: the role of business networks," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 32(2), pages 263-280, February.
    3. Kaplinsky, Raphael & Morris, Mike & Readman, Jeff, 2002. "The Globalization of Product Markets and Immiserizing Growth: Lessons From the South African Furniture Industry," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1159-1177, July.
    4. Timothy J. Feddersen & Thomas W. Gilligan, 2001. "Saints and Markets: Activists and the Supply of Credence Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 149-171, March.
    5. Hill, Hal, 2000. "Export Success Against the Odds: A Vietnamese Case Study," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 283-300, February.
    6. Ponte, Stefano, 2008. "Greener than Thou: The Political Economy of Fish Ecolabeling and Its Local Manifestations in South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 159-175, January.
    7. Dove, Michael R. & Kammen, Daniel M., 2001. "Vernacular Models of Development: An Analysis of Indonesia Under the "New Order"," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 619-639, April.
    8. Sabel, Charles & O'Rourke, Dara & Fung, Archon, 2000. "Ratcheting labor standards : regulation for continuous improvement in the global workplace," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 23071, The World Bank.
    9. Kimberly Ann Elliott & Richard B. Freeman, 2003. "Can Labor Standards Improve under Globalization?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 338.
    10. McCarthy, John F., 2004. "Changing to Gray: Decentralization and the Emergence of Volatile Socio-Legal Configurations in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1199-1223, July.
    11. Taylor, Peter Leigh, 2005. "In the Market But Not of It: Fair Trade Coffee and Forest Stewardship Council Certification as Market-Based Social Change," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 129-147, January.
    12. Vandergeest, Peter, 2007. "Certification and Communities: Alternatives for Regulating the Environmental and Social Impacts of Shrimp Farming," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1152-1171, July.
    13. Kolk, Ans, 2005. "Corporate Social Responsibility in the Coffee Sector:: The Dynamics of MNC Responses and Code Development," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 228-236, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Büthe Tim, 2010. "Private Regulation in the Global Economy: A (P)Review," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-40, October.
    2. Baddeley, Shane & Cheng, Peter & Wolfe, Robert, 2011. "Trade Policy Implications of Carbon Labels on Food," Commissioned Papers 122740, Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy Research Network.
    3. Cafaggi Fabrizio & Janczuk Agnieszka, 2010. "Private Regulation and Legal Integration: The European Example," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-42, October.
    4. Fuchs Doris & Kalfagianni Agni, 2010. "The Causes and Consequences of Private Food Governance," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-36, October.
    5. Mayer Frederick & Gereffi Gary, 2010. "Regulation and Economic Globalization: Prospects and Limits of Private Governance," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-27, October.
    6. Büthe Tim, 2010. "Global Private Politics: A Research Agenda," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-26, October.
    7. Auld Graeme & Cashore Benjamin & Balboa Cristina & Bozzi Laura & Renckens Stefan, 2010. "Can Technological Innovations Improve Private Regulation in the Global Economy?," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-42, October.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:12:y:2010:i:3:n:8. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.