Edited by David Levi-Faur
The study of regulation is the study of the politics, policies, institutions and effectiveness of formal and informal controls. Such controls may take many forms: some are hierarchical with clear sanctions attached, while others are softer; some are in the domain of one actor, while others are highly divided among actors, arenas and institutions; some are exerted by governmental organizations and some by private organizations; some emphasize participation, while others emphasize compliance; some reflect well-designed systems of delegation, monitoring and enforcement, and others are at best patchworks. They are all however the products of politics, and they all have redistributive effects, even if these effects are often blurred and not transparent. Politics is intertwined with regulation, and the efforts to depoliticize the topic makes it all the more interesting. The study of regulation is also the study of the limits of control and the overt and covert resistance of rulers and their rules. In the age of governance, regulation is also the study of regulatory regimes in shifting levels, arenas and spaces of control. As a mode of control, regulation represents an alternative to taxing and spending on the one hand and nationalization and public ownership on the other. As a hybrid mode of control, regulation is not only control by government but also the control over government, control without government and shared forms of control. It is also a multidisciplinary field that in the last decade has rapidly developed a common language and shared understanding of the problems and...