Regulatory Theories and Frameworks

Author/s (editor/s):

Elizabeth Bluff

Publication year:


Publication type:

Book chapter

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Regulatory theories and frameworks offer different perspectives on how public and private actors and mechanisms regulate or influence firm and individual behaviour. This chapter canvasses some benefits and challenges of five such theories or frameworks. First is risk-based regulation in which the regulator uses systematised decision making to prioritise regulatory activities and deploy resources based on an assessment of risks to the regulator’s objectives. Second is a relative of risk-based regulation, the regulatory craft, whereby regulators systematically analyse and address specific harms, threats or risk concentrations through tailor-made interventions or solutions. Third is responsive regulation which seeks to reconcile regulatory strategies of cooperation and deterrence by applying a pyramid of supports to progressively build regulatee capacity and reinforce strengths and, if this fails, applying a pyramid of progressively more punitive sanctions until reform is forthcoming. Fourth is smart regulation, which builds on responsive regulation by sequentially applying a three-sided pyramid in which government, business and third party regulators apply complementary mechanisms in a coordinated way. Fifth is strategic enforcement in which regulators fashion and target interventions based on relationships between businesses through supply chains, branding, franchising, third-party management and other business systems.

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