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Government, regulation and governance: Programme 2

Programme Director: Christopher Hood
Deputy Programme Director: Martin Lodge

This programme focuses on governance and regulation in the sense of the control of government, regulators and public officeholders. In order to come to a better understanding of the notions of governance and regulation, the group concentrates on comparative research in order to assess commonalities and differences in the regulation of governance, paying particular attention to benchmark starting points and 'reform trajectories'.

The research applies various types of institutional analysis and aims to conceptually develop the way governments, regulators, and public officeholders are controlled through a range of mechanisms, including oversight, popular participation by voting and other means, community and competition in various forms.

This CARR group has three core objectives:

  • to identify some of the main mechanisms that serve to control executive government, regulators, and public office-holders, their potential and limitations,

  • to identify cross-national trends, commonalities and differences and explore contesting explanations,

  • to  identify features of contemporary governance through the lens of regulation, in particular in the light of the notions of 'responsive regulation', 'audit explosion' and 'regulatory innovation'.

The research programme involves collaborative projects in three particular areas:

  • Cross-national comparative analysis of regulation of public sector bodies

  • Comparison of regulation by government by different institutional mechanisms and different levels of government

  • Comparison of regulatory behaviour and regulatory innovativeness in different environmental conditions


Tim Besley (ESRC) Effects of political institutions on policy outcomes, the role of the media in political accountability, public versus private provision of goods and services, intergovernmental competition, regulation of labour disputes in India.

Julia Black (ESRC) Regulatory and corporate approaches to operational risk.

Christopher Hood (ESRC) Comparative regulation inside government, supranational governance.

William J Jennings (ESRC/BP)

Robert Kaye (ESRC) The regulation of MP's ethics; self-regulation and disciplinary bodies; private regulation of the public sector.

Martin Lodge (ESRC) Railway regulation in Britain and Germany, regulatory transparency in Europe, regulation in the Caribbean.

Colin Scott (ESRC) Comparative regulation inside government, regulatory innovation in high tech industries, supranational governance, private governance of the public sector.

Mark Thatcher (ESRC) Comparative regulation and public policy in Europe (particularly Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the EU); telecommunications and other utilities; institutional design and independent regulatory agencies.