Tom Christensen and Per Lægreid Over the last 25 years the traditional model of hierarchical and integrated government has been challenged by structural fragmentation inspired by the New Public Management (NPM) reforms (Christensen and Lægreid 2001; Pollitt et al. 2001; Pollitt and Bouckaert 2004). A central aspect of this development in many countries has been a change in how regulatory activities are organized. Regulation based on central command and control from the top has been weakened in favour of more regulation by autonomous regulatory agencies (Levi-Faur 2005). The new international regulatory orthodoxy, enhanced by the emergence of a universal reform model, holds that the creation of autonomous agencies will improve regulatory performance and efficiency without having negative side-effects on accountability, transparency and democratic legitimacy (Majone 1994, 1997; Self 2000; Pollitt et al. 2004). This chapter asserts that these expectations are not established as evidence-based facts but need to be examined through empirical studies. The causes and effects of this development in regulatory policy are still unclear. We will focus on the dynamic interplay between the increase in the autonomy of regulatory agencies and political control of those agencies. The general research issues are the weak empirical foundations of regulatory reforms, the complex trade-off between political control and agency autonomy, the dual process of deregulation and reregulation, the problems of role-specialization and coordination, and the question of ‘smart practice’ in regulatory policy and practice. Our argument is that agencification and regulation operate in tandem. Autonomous organizations need regulation, and...
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