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 4: Back to the Future? Regulatory Innovation and the Railways in Britain and Germany

Martin Lodge

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


Martin Lodge INTRODUCTION Regulatory innovation is said to emerge from interaction with, and the influence of, often contradictory internal and environmental pressures (see Julia Black’s introductory chapter; also D’Aunno et al. 1991; Thelen 1999; Thelen 2003, p. 211). Why are some pressures more important than others when it comes to the selection of policy templates as part of regulatory innovation? What type of standard operating procedures shape the way in which policy templates are selected, and how? Does the selection of policy templates point to a ‘back to the future’ effect in that there are noticeable continuities and proposals that continuously reappear or is there a linear progression of policy adjustment (see Abrahamson 1991)? The diverse worlds of regulatory innovation have addressed these questions in a number of ways. This chapter draws on core arguments from three worlds of regulatory innovation and explores these claims by charting regulatory innovation in terms of institutional design in railways in two countries, Britain and Germany, at three distinctly critical historical junctures in the twentieth century: the age of the first attempts at nationalization in the post-First World War period, the age of the ‘positive state’ after the Second World War and the supposed age of the ‘regulatory state’ in the 1990s. Railways are the 3G equivalent of the nineteenth century. They have been at the forefront of regulatory developments since the early-to-mid nineteenth century and have shaped wider economic policy as well as natural monopoly regulation (McLean and Foster 1992). Throughout the twentieth...

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