Organized Panel Session
This paper examines concerns regarding increased participation by firms in government design of new business regulations in emerging markets. First, given firms’ natural orientation towards maximizing their profits, can participation improve views of state authority in the business community without weakening the ability of regulations to protect society? Second, can resource-constrained governments realistically use consultation programs to influence the behavior of enough relevant firms to achieve reasonable levels of social protection? We explore these questions through an online survey of 121 firm managers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We find that firms prompted to think about worker safety favored regulatory changes that arose from suggestions by other firms over those from suggestions by chemical safety experts, even when unaware of the involvement of either source in the design process. By contrast, firms prompted to focus on business success did not express significant support for revisions. Furthermore, contrary to our expectations, learning about the participation of fellow firms did not add to this effect. Such learning did, however, positively influence firm views of government’s regulatory legitimacy.