‘Competitive third-party regulatory arrangements’ - regulatory programs that rely on independent regulatory agents competing for regulatee client revenue - draw attention to the service provision aspect of regulatory administration. In an article published in Public Management Review, I apply multiple methods to study service diversification and service quality differences among U.S. organic certifiers. By examining how the services of organic certifiers differ based on whether the certifier is governmental, nonprofit, or private, the study documents that the inclusion of nonprofit and private regulatory agents expands the services that are offered and performed alongside regulatory program functions.
The study finds that public certifiers generally limit their services to regulatory functions, nonprofit certifiers tend to emphasize mission-relevant services, such as education and policy advocacy, and private certifiers tend to replicate their core certification services - offering additional certification services such as gluten-free and fair trade. For those interested in organic certification the findings suggest that the service orientations of organic certifier options vary based on the certifier's organizational form. For scholars the findings are evidence that public, nonprofit, and private organizations approach service provision, and may respond to competitive environments, differently, and involving nonprofit and private organizations in regulatory administration leads to the 'bundling' of peripheral services with regulatory functions.