Type
Part or chapter of a book
Title
Governing by labels? : Not that simple: The cases of environmental and nutritional politics in France
In
Labeling the Economy
Editor
Palgrave Macmillan
Pages
185 - 206 p.
Keywords
label, normalisation, économie
Abstract
EN
The popularity of labels as tools of government is growing in many policy areas. This chapter focuses on the creation and implementation of one specific kind of label, which we have defined as a “rewarding label”. These labels are granted by governments or public authorities and reward organizations for their contribution to public welfare. Governance by rewarding labels relies on the mechanisms of competition and social distinction at play within a given field, in order to orient actors towards options that governments consider to be in the public interest. Taking eco-labels and nutritional charters as case studies, this chapter shows the difficulties involved in governing through this tool. Rewarding labels are designed to satisfy a range of conflicting objectives and interests and their application has become a site of conflict among public authorities and private actors. Four limitations to this approach are highlighted: management of labels’ reputations, consumer enrolment, competition between companies, and competition between government labels and other market devices or actors.

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