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The Politics of Regulation

Institutions and Regulatory Reforms for the Age of Governance

Edited by Jacint Jordana and David Levi-Faur

This book suggests that the scope and breadth of regulatory reforms since the mid-1980s and particularly during the 1990s, are so striking that they necessitate a reappraisal of current approaches to the study of the politics of regulation. The authors call for the adoption of different and fresh perspectives to examine this area.
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Chapter 8: Comparative Research Designs in the Study of Regulation: How to Increase the Number of Cases without Compromising the Strengths of Case-Oriented Analysis

David Levi-Faur


David Levi-Faur* Regulatory reforms have gained immense global popularity and are widely pervasive across regions, countries and sectors. Very few countries have kept aloof from this sweeping trend. Still, amidst the wave of reforms some puzzling variations in their advance are discernible. For one, variations are clearly visible in the timing of the reforms. It might be possible to identify pioneering countries (for example Britain), fence-sitters (for example Germany), and laggards (for example France). Similarly, it is possible to distinguish countries that moved towards reforms after severe economic crises and with the active encouragement of international institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF (for example a number of Latin American countries). At the same time, some countries took a pro-active approach and autonomously reformed their regimes in the hope of strengthening their competitiveness in global markets (for example New Zealand, The Netherlands). Finally, some countries adopted rapid reforms across many sectors (for example Bolivia) while others were more picky and opted for reform only in a small number of sectors (for example Japan). At the sectoral level, some sectors are prone to reforms (for example air transport), others much less so (for example water). Some regions of the world boast widespread regulatory reforms (for example Europe) while in others they are barely noticeable (for example the Arab world). Whereas some reforms have often been subject to international agreements (for example trade), others have been left to national discretion (for example occupational health and safety). The general advance of...

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