Friday, February 12, 2010
Blog readers interested in regulatory theory should consider reading Edward L. Rubin's new study, The Regulation Process and the Boundaries of New Public Governance (Vanderbilt Public Research Paper No. 10-04, Feb. 10, 2010) (available from SSRN here). From the abstract:
New Public Governance is one of the most significant intellectual movements in the theory of government to have emerged in the past few decades. It suggests that regulators should develop a more modulated, cooperative approach to the task of achieving compliance with regulatory programs, rather than relying on the adversarial stance that characterizes command and control regulation. This speaks directly to the concerns about regulation that have raised by both scholars and elected officials, and that may provide a model for the Obama Administration’s strategy in this important area. The question is when the recommendations of New Public Governance are likely to be most effective, and when they should be treated with caution. This paper advances an answer based on the social theory of Norbert Elias ("The Civilizing Process,” 1939). One feature of Elias’ theory is its suggestion that regulation is not a static process for which one temporally independent approach will be optimal, but a dynamic one that changes and evolves, which means that different approaches will be optimal at different stages of the process. The paper illustrates the applicability of Elias’ theory - and the advantages of a dynamic theory of regulation in general - by using the example of commercial airline regulation. It concludes that the effectiveness of a New Public Governance approach is likely to increase as regulated parties become more accustomed to, and accepting toward, the regulatory framework.