The Role of Democracy in Public Policy Making by Private Groups: A Case Study of the American Petroleum Institute (API)




Dickson, Stacia

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This paper explores API’s history, its multiple functions within the industry, and its connections to government. It focuses on policy- making processes and the level of democratic procedure employed in creating standards. A comparison is made between API and the Australian Gas Association to differentiate between the role of private groups in public policymaking in the United States, where such groups are more prevalent, and the international arena. API’s connections to other standard-making bodies and international associations are discussed in order to determine who API’s stakeholders are, whom the organization is ultimately accountable to, and from where it derives legitimacy in its ability to develop policies that its members, as well as the greater international oil and gas industry, voluntarily abide by. The study also attempts to support a hypothesis on the impact of government involvement in standard-setting on the number of viewpoints involved in API’s policymaking process.


from Volume 1 (2007) of New Voices in Public Policy