The New Regulatory Space

The New Regulatory Space

Reframing Democratic Governance

Frank Vibert

This groundbreaking book analyses changing patterns of governance in modern democratic societies. Frank Vibert discusses how far we should be concerned about such changes and what we should be concerned about. Crucially, Vibert clarifies the status of regulation, revealing how regulation should be viewed, not only as a technique offering specific responses to particular policy problems, but also in its new role as the key mechanism for making adjustments between the different systems of coordination used in contemporary governance.

Chapter 2: Analysing the regulatory space

Frank Vibert

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, law - academic, law and society, regulation and governance, politics and public policy, international politics, public policy, regulation and governance


This chapter looks at different approaches about how to build up a picture of the regulatory space and its relationship with other systems. This involves selecting between those approaches that seem to have a special relevance or application in looking at regulatory activity across the different domains and between three different levels of analysis. One level focuses on the system as a whole. A second level of analysis is based on individual behaviour. This may involve looking at the individual decision to regulate or to the behaviour of the individual unit that regulates or is regulated. The third is a 'mid-level' form of analysis that provides a link between theorizing about individual behaviour and theorizing about system behaviour. Three steps are involved in making the selection. First, the particular approach that ends by being chosen - the mid-level approach of social framing in this case - has to be justified in relation to other possible selections. The justification is important in this case because the approach of social framing is probably not well known. It seems counter-intuitive not to adopt a systems approach. The discussion therefore aims to provide the rationale leading up to this choice. Secondly, the grounding or footing of the approach needs to be identified and discussed. In this case the grounding rests on theorizing about what is known as 'bounded rationality'. Theories of bounded rationality suggest that it can be reasonable to draw general inferences on the basis of a limited rather than exhaustive investigation.

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