Regulatory Innovation

Regulatory Innovation

A Comparative Analysis

Edited by Julia Black, Martin Lodge and Mark Thatcher

Much hype has been generated about the importance of innovation for public and private sector organisations. Regulatory Innovation offers the first detailed study of regulatory innovation in a multiplicity of countries and domains. This book draws on in-depth studies of innovation in regulatory instruments and practices across high- and low-technology sectors, across different countries and from the early to the late 20th century. Highlighting different ‘worlds’ of regulatory innovation – those of the individual, the organization, the state, the global polity, and innovation itself, this book offers a fresh perspective and valuable insights for the practice and study of regulatory innovation.

Chapter 2: Tomorrow’s Worlds: Frameworks for Understanding Regulatory Innovation

Julia Black

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, regulation and governance


Julia Black INTRODUCTION The first chapter explored what ‘regulatory innovation’ consists of; the more difficult questions are how and why does it occur. This is clearly not the first time these questions have been asked, and the explanations and theories range from the particular personality characteristics of individual innovators to the macro-economic measures and political structures of states, from communication networks to models of rationality and actorhood, from institutional structures to ideational properties. The different sets of explanations tend, however, to occupy different ‘worlds’, and intellectual travel between them is often limited. These ‘worlds’ are, of course, analytical and often disciplinary constructs. They are delineated here to be used in part as heuristic devices to map a path through conflicting and yet often overlapping debates on innovation. They are not mutually exclusive, nor are they necessarily internally coherent, rather the boundaries between them are fluid and as the chapters in this volume will suggest, explanations for regulatory innovation may resonate with one or more aspects of different ‘worlds’, and competing images of regulatory innovation cut across them. Nonetheless, a ‘world’ is a site of analysis, each focusing on different actors, mechanisms, levels of analysis and methodologies, combining to produce somewhat differing answers to the questions of how and why innovations are introduced. The outline given of each world is not intended to be a complete account of the theories of innovation that may potentially exist or be grouped within those worlds, not least because the literature which specifically refers to...

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