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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 1: The Politics of Regulation in the Age of Governance

Jacint Jordana and David Levi-Faur


Jacint Jordana and David Levi-Faur* Scholarly interest in regulation as a mode of governance – and of the regulatory state as its most characteristic feature – has increased substantially in the last decade. One of the most important driving forces of this interest is growing scholarly awareness of the global wave of regulatory reforms. Since the mid-1980s governance through regulation has ceased to be a peculiarity of the American administrative state but has become a central feature of reforms in the European Union (Majone, 1994, 1997), Latin America (Manzetti, 2000; Jordana and Levi-Faur, 2003), East Asia (Jayasuriya, 2001), and developing countries in general (Cook et al., 2004).1 These recent developments have had a profound impact on our understanding of the regulatory state. While the studies of eminent scholars of regulation such as Marver Bernstein (1955), Theodore Lowi (1964, 1985) and James Wilson (1980) are still required reading, much has changed in the governance of the capitalist economy since the mid-1980s, hence in the degree of academic attention given to the politics of regulation. Regulation as an art and craft of governance, as an institutional reality, as a field of study, and as a public discourse is more salient and celebrated nowadays than ever before. However, the challenges are as great as the achievements. Not least, the degree of change in the ways governance through regulation is exercised can hardly be exaggerated. Most intriguing is the expansion of regulatory modes of governance to more and more spheres of life and political arenas....

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