The work on 'regime complexes' - loosely coupled regimes linked through non-hierarchical relationships - provides a lens for understanding the increasing density of international rules and institutions. However, the role of private authority in the regime complex - situations where non-state actors set rules or standards that other actors adopt - has only recently received academic attention. In this article, we 'unbundle' the concept of the regime complex in two novel ways. Firstly, we argue that an accurate depiction of any regime complex must also include private authority. Secondly, using examples from environmental governance, we carefully elaborate four specific mechanisms through which public and private authority interact, demonstrating the ways in which private authority can improve the problem-solving capacity of regime complexes. In short, a full understanding of the contributions of private authority to solving environmental problems requires examining its interactions with public rules and institutions.

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Keywords Environmental governance, International cooperation, Private authority, Regime complex
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Journal Transnational Environmental Law
Green, J.F. (Jessica F.), & Auld, G. (2017). Unbundling the Regime Complex: The Effects of Private Authority. Transnational Environmental Law, 6(2), 259–284. doi:10.1017/S2047102516000121