Table of Contents

Comparative Law and Regulation

Comparative Law and Regulation

Understanding the Global Regulatory Process

Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series

Edited by Francesca Bignami and David Zaring

Governance by regulation – rules propounded and enforced by bureaucracies – is taking a growing share of the sum total of governance. Once thought to be an American phenomenon, it is now a central form of state action in every part of the world, including Europe, Latin America, and Asia, and it is at the core of much international lawmaking. In Comparative Law and Regulation, original contributions by leading scholars in the field focus both on the legal dimension of regulation and on how this dimension operates in those places that have turned to regulation to meet their obligations.

Chapter 2: Regulation in the European Union

R. Daniel Kelemen

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, regulation and governance


The European Union (EU) is the most influential regulator in the world. The EU regulates everything from food safety, to the roaming tariffs for mobile phones, to the content of prospectuses for traded securities, to the carbon emissions from passenger planes, to capital requirements for banks, to the recyclability of consumer electronics, to the cookies on websites, to the tuition charged to European students who study in other EU countries, to working hours, to rules on workplace discrimination, to the pension eligibility of migrant workers, to mergers of companies and divorces of married couples. The list goes on and on. Estimates of the length of the accumulated body of legislation adopted by the EU (the so-called acquis communautaire) range from 80,000 to 170,000 pages. In short, EU regulations influence most aspects of economic activity in Europe, and many related areas of social life. And the impact of EU regulation does not end at the EU’s borders. EU rules determine global regulatory standards across a wide range of areas—a phenomenon Anu Bradford has labeled “The Brussels Effect.” As Bradford (2012: 3) eloquently puts it, The European Union sets the global rules across a range of areas, such as food, chemicals, competition, and the protection of privacy. EU regulations have a tangible impact on the everyday lives of citizens around the world.

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