Regulatory Innovation
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Regulatory Innovation

A Comparative Analysis

Edited by Julia Black, Martin Lodge and Mark Thatcher

Much hype has been generated about the importance of innovation for public and private sector organisations. Regulatory Innovation offers the first detailed study of regulatory innovation in a multiplicity of countries and domains. This book draws on in-depth studies of innovation in regulatory instruments and practices across high- and low-technology sectors, across different countries and from the early to the late 20th century. Highlighting different ‘worlds’ of regulatory innovation – those of the individual, the organization, the state, the global polity, and innovation itself, this book offers a fresh perspective and valuable insights for the practice and study of regulatory innovation.
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Chapter 1: What is Regulatory Innovation?

Julia Black


Julia Black INTRODUCTION Innovation is the cure currently prescribed for the ailing state. It is a key part of the ‘reinventing government’ debate (Osborne and Gaebler 1993) and occupies a central role in debates on regulatory reform (e.g. OECD 1995; European Commission 2002). Just as companies have long been told to ‘innovate or die’ (Schumpeter 1976), public agencies are being told that innovation should become one of their ‘core activities’ (Cabinet Office 2003). ‘How to’ guides to public policy innovation proliferate (e.g. Osborne and Gaebler 1993; Sparrow 2000; Cabinet Office 2003), government departments, statutory bodies and pressure groups exist to promote public sector innovation (e.g. the New South Wales Innovation Centre, the US Institute for Policy Innovation, the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Germany) and awards for innovation are features of the administrative landscape in many countries including the USA, the UK, Germany, Canada and Australia. In contrast, for others, innovation is the treatment which causes its own disease. For example, contrary to the ‘innovation as success’ message of the regulatory reform literature, Michael Moran’s thesis is that innovation has been a ‘fiasco’, with the negative consequences of innovation in turn prompting more innovation in an ever ascending, or descending, spiral. Moran argues that in the UK, the last 30 or so years have been an era of ‘hyperinnovation’, ‘the frenetic selection of new institutional modes, and their equally frenetic replacement by alternatives’ (Moran 2003, p. 26). In Moran’s argument, hyper-innovation takes the form of new institutional forms of governance, ranging from...

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