I like to keep things simple and informal – as authentic as possible, but details can matter upon circumstance. Below a more complete overview of who I am as a researcher.
— PhD Political Economy, King’s College London. Expected submission: c.09.2018.
— MA Environment Politics & Globalisation (1st Class), King’s College London. 2012.
— BA. International Relations (cum laude), Tallinn University of Technology. 2010.
Non-state regulators, of which transnational certifications schemes can be an example, are ubiquitous in today’s society. You may have seen, for instance, that Starbucks labels its products ‘Fair Trade’ whilst across the street, at Costa, products are labelled by the ‘Rainforest Alliance’. How did either get chosen over similar alternatives?
Or, phrased as a research question: how to account for the success of one non-state regulator/certification given competition against other similar schemes?
I work specifically with voluntary carbon offset certifications rather than coffee certifications for methodological reasons (more cases / better comparability), and because we do not know much yet about these particular certifications, but the puzzle underneath is the same. Carbon offset certifications need to figure out ways to be chosen over others. Amidst heavy uncertainty too, because these type of initiatives are typically borne as part of deep social, economic, political, and even scientific, cleavages.
My PhD includes comparisson. The project begins by fully-enunciating an unambiguous Sartorian concept. Explanatory variables are drawn deductively from organisational theory > transaction costs, which allows me to formulate hypotheses at the non-field specific level. Subsequent operationalisation enables measurement within the selected field (carbon offset certifications), and specific cases within this field are chosen on the basis of similarity (different outcome). The analysis is based on extensive fieldwork upon a combination of document analysis and in-depth interviews with many of the most renowned experts in carbon markets, an orthodox process trace of all cases, and analysis including qualitative comparison and a robustness check via the formal tools available in Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). The study is important in its own right, but it should also form a good starting point for subsequent cross-field testing (check the ‘post-doc’ tab for more on this).
Results & Implications (thus far)