International Handbook on Economic Regulation
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International Handbook on Economic Regulation

Edited by Michael A. Crew and David Parker

Michael Crew and David Parker have compiled a comprehensive, up-to-date and detailed analytical work on leading research issues in the economics of regulation. With contributions from international specialists in economic regulation, the Handbook provides a comprehensive discussion of major developments in both the theory and practice of regulatory economics. This book will be an indispensable source for both students and practitioners of regulation.
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Chapter 9: Regulatory Governance and the Lessons from UK Practice

Peter Vass


Peter Vass Introduction1 This chapter focuses on regulatory governance; that is, the framework of regulatory structures and processes that should be designed to achieve, and sustain, good regulatory outcomes. Much effort has, and is, put into analysing regulatory objectives (the market and conduct failures to be addressed) and the means (instruments) by which regulators might meet those objectives, but it is equally important to recognize that regulators themselves need to be ‘controlled’ if good regulation is to be achieved and sustained in practice. The regulatory ‘framework’ is therefore an important policy question for all governments, and certain generic aspects can be seen to apply. Important features include the legal framework, the separation of roles and responsibilities, identification and codification of the principles of good regulation, institutionalizing a ‘whole of government view’, and designing effective processes for regulatory account ability. The provision and use of information play a vital role in these control mechanisms. Regulatory governance is therefore about achieving regulation that can be shown to be in the public interest, and which maintains public confidence and support. Such regulation should be demonstrably cost-effective. Yet this is not about a single, rigid solution. Regulatory governance is also about flexibility and adaptation to meet changing circumstances or heeding the lessons of past failures. To illustrate the principles and practice of regulatory governance in this context, the chapter first sets out some general characteristics of the regulatory state, and suggests that recent developments may be resulting in a new regulatory paradigm which integrates...

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