This Section brings together scholars who focus on changes and challenges in regulatory governance. Broadly speaking, regulatory governance refers to the use of binding rules – including standard-setting, monitoring and sanctioning – to intervene in the activities of specific categories of economic, political or social actors. Typically, we think of government intervention in economic activity, but regulatory governance may also refer to self-regulation by industry, regulation inside government, and regulation by international organisations, and national and transnational non-governmental organisations (e.g., Levi-Faur 2011; Koop and Lodge 2017).
The scope of regulatory governance has changed considerably over the past decades. While government regulation of economic sectors was not very extensive until the late 1970s, it quickly expanded in the 1980s and 1990s in response to privatisation, Europeanisation and the increased reliance on indirect or proxy government (Majone 1997). Moreover, regulation expanded at other levels, including the regulation of states and non-state actors by international organisations, regulation within the state, self-regulation by business, and civil society regulation (e.g., Levi-Faur 2005).
This expansion of regulatory governance has posed a number of challenges. First, as the introduction and enforcement of rules is often the responsibility of actors who are not directly elected by the people, questions of democratic legitimacy and accountability have continuously been raised. Second, as regulatory responsibilities have dispersed – for instance, because of multi-level regulatory governance and the rise of independent regulatory agencies –, co-operation, co-ordination and control have become key issues (e.g., Bach et al. 2016; Busuioc 2016; Ruffing 2017). Third, the expansion of the scope of business regulation has attracted renewed interest in the relationship between regulators and regulatees, including questions of co-regulation, lobbying, revolving doors and capture (e.g., Arras and Braun 2017). Fourth, technological change has triggered new regulatory questions, for example about the regulation of high-tech corporations, new technologies and the potential of technology to improve the regulatory process itself (e.g., Lodge and Wegrich 2014).
Arras, Sarah and Caelesta Braun (2017). “Stakeholders wanted! Why and how European Union agencies involve non-state stakeholders.” Online first in the Journal of European Public Policy.
Bach, Tobias, Fabrizio DeFrancesco, Martino Maggetti and Eva Ruffing (2016). “Transnational bureaucratic politics: An institutional rivalry perspective on EU network governance.” Public Administration 94 (1), 9-24.
Busuioc, Madalina (2016). “Friend of foe? Inter-agency cooperation, organizational reputation, and turf.” Public Administration 94 (1), 40-56.
Koop, Christel and Martin Lodge (2017). “What is regulation? An interdisciplinary concept analysis.” Regulation & Governance 11 (1), 95-108.
Levi-Faur, David (2005). “The global diffusion of regulatory capitalism.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 598: 12–32.
Levi-Faur, David (2011). “Regulation and regulatory governance.” In David Levi-Faur (Ed). Handbook on the Politics of Regulation (pp. 3–21). Edward Elgar: Cheltenham.
Lodge, Martin and Kai Wegrich (2014). “Crowdsourcing and regulatory reviews: A new way of challenging red tape in British government?” Regulation and Governance 9 (1), 30-46
Majone, Giandomenico (1997). “From the positive to the regulatory state: Causes and consequences of changes in the mode of governance.” Journal of Public Policy 17 (2): 139-167.
Ruffing, Eva (2017). “Inside regulatory bureaucracy: When Europe hits home in pharmaceuticals and chemicals.” Public Policy and Administration 32 (1), 3-23.