Comparing Regulatory Systems: Institutions, Processes and Legal Forms in Industrialised Countries
The aim of this paper is identify and compare the key features of regulatory systems in industrialised countries. By way of essential background, the first section deals with the constitutional and cultural environment which underpins the systems, but it also includes a discussion of regulatory traditions and styles which, for example as between anglophone and continental European regimes are significantly different. Institutional frameworks are discussed in the second section, covering, inter alia, the relationship between regulatory agencies and government, the breadth of remit of regulatory institutions and the degree of discretion conferred on them by legislation. The latter necessarily gives rise to issues concerning the forms of and institutions of accountability. In the third section, we consider regulatory procedures and management. Noteworthy here are, on the one hand, the systems of consultation and the extent to which public hearings are encouraged and, on the other, cost-benefit or regulatory impact analysis to which, in some jurisdictions, are mandatory for regulatory policy- makers. The final section is concerned with legal instruments and here we concentrate on the growing distance between traditional "command and control" methods and those relying on financial incentives and other economic instruments. Appended to the paper are two case studies which attempt to show how these features are deployed by different jurisdictions in two areas of concrete policy- making: taxicabs and water quality.
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