Regulation and social capital

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Project leader(s)

Why is regulation associated with domination? Why do people see regulation as a cost or burden? Why isn’t regulation seen as something that improves the quality of life? The broad aim of this project is to explain why we often waver in our trust in regulatory systems and to consider what is needed in the way of dialogue to establish respectful relations with communities and improve regulatory effectiveness.

This project investigates the argument that communities expect government to put in place regulatory systems that protect and offer benefits; they expect justice in regulatory goals and practice; and they expect regulatory systems that display integrity and affirm integrity, strengthening moral codes of conduct. Regulatory systems, however, sometimes fail to meet these expectations. Most notably, regulatory systems don’t always make sense to people and also sometimes fall short in delivering desirable outcomes. When regulation seems pointless and ineffective, implementation of and compliance with regulation become unwelcome impositions. Rules may be subverted – sometimes overtly, more often covertly; and in the process communities distance themselves from the regulating authority. With this distance comes cynicism in the form of loss of trust and hope. As a result, community members are reluctant to step up to the mark to offer cooperation to authorities. The result is that authorities have difficulty mobilising social and human capital in the regulatory process.

The project tests the propositions of this argument at 8 different ‘hot-spots’ where government is using its authority to shape the behaviours of citizens. The regulatory efforts at these hot-spots are designed to deliver: (a) quality hospital care; (b) economic and social well-being through income management for Indigenous Australians; (c) more efficient and equitable taxation for small business; (d) economic well-being for older Australians through superannuation; (e) prevention of school bullying; (f) higher quality schools through public rankings of school performance; (g) environmental sustainability through better water management in rural Australia; and (h) social cohesion in the resettlement of humanitarian refugees.

Eliza Ahmed

Dr Eliza Ahmed

Dr Eliza Ahmed’s research interests lie in the regulation of rule violation as it relates to shame/pride management, interpersonal relationships, and the processes of regulation. Focusing in...

Liz Bluff

Dr Liz Bluff

Dr Liz Bluff is a Visiting Fellow with RegNet. She has worked in the field of work health and safety for thirty-five years in positions spanning regulatory research, postgraduate education,...

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Professor Valerie Braithwaite

Valerie Braithwaite is an interdisciplinary social scientist with a disciplinary background in psychology. She has taught in social and clinical psychology programs at undergraduate and graduate...

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Ms Deb Cleland

Deb Cleland is research assistant to John and Valerie Braithwaite, on the projects Regulation and Social Capital...

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Ms Sharynne Hamilton

Sharynne Hamilton began working at RegNet in 2010, when she became the ANU’s first Indigenous Intern.  As an undergraduate student, Sharynne worked with RegNet’s...

Nathan Harris

Dr Nathan Harris

Nathan is a Visitor at RegNet. Previously he has held appointments as a Lecturer at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Katholieke...

Ms Mary Ivec

Mary holds post graduate degrees in social policy, social work and counselling having completed her Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and Politics) at the ANU. Mary has thirty...

Dr Jenny Job

Jenny Job is currently Director of Research and Evaluation in Safe Work Australia, an Australian Government statutory agency with the primary responsibility of improving work health and safety and...

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Dr Helene Shin

Helene is a Senior Research Analyst in the Research and Analysis Branch, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services, and Indigenous Affairs. She has involved in the content development...

 Society, safety and health cluster hero

Society, safety and health

The Society, Safety and Health cluster has three broad regulatory and governance–related research themes:

1) the social determinants of health and health inequities, including trade, food systems, climate change, and urban planning;

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet