Julia Black and Martin Lodge INTRODUCTION At the outset we noted that the term ‘regulatory innovation’ is likely to attract either unbridled enthusiasm or barely mitigated scepticism. It is seen on the one hand as the solution to regulatory and wider economic failings, and on the other as the source of policy fiascos. Its very existence is doubted by sceptics, who argue it is simply a fashionable label in which to dress up changes in policy or modes of implementation, or indeed academic studies of such changes. In seeking to explore these claims, we sought to answer three specific questions: what is regulatory innovation; how can we explain or account for it, and are we living in an age of hyper-innovation, or simply one in which there is a lot of hype about innovation? The case studies have been deliberately diverse, ranging from the ‘high tech’ to the ‘low tech’, and from the fashionable to the unfashionable. Innovation in each area in the UK has been compared cross-nationally against at least one other country, in order to explore whether and how regulators in each domain in different countries produced ‘innovative’ responses to similar policy issues. This conclusion outlines the discoveries that we made during this exploratory study of regulatory innovation, looking at each question in turn, and also asking what this study has to contribute to the debates on ‘how to do’ regulatory innovation. WHAT IS INNOVATIVE ABOUT REGULATORY INNOVATION? Innovation is for many inherently associated with assumptions of ‘newism’...
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