Law and Politics of Regulation

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Gordon Baldwin NAB 7.08, Prof Julia Black NAB 7.09, Dr Kira Matus CON 6.10 and Dr Elena Busuioc


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Regulation and MSc in Regulation (Research). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The course aims to give students an essential grounding in theories of regulation encountered in the legal, political science and law & economics literatures. It examines competing explanations of the origins, development and reform of regulation; the styles and processes of regulation; issues surrounding enforcement; the inter-organisational and international aspects of regulation; and questions of evaluation and accountability. Some specific cases will be explored through the medium of an additional practitioner seminar series, which will be led by experienced practitioners invited on a one-off basis. The course focuses on the following key themes: contrasting perspectives on regulation, differences in regulatory styles, dynamics and processes, regulatory standard-setting, regulatory enforcement, evaluating regulation.


The course is taught: (a) by 20, two-hour sessions in variable format (some lecture-discussions, student-paper led discussions, debates) comprising the academic core, (b) by nine seminars on 'economics of regulation' and 'research design' in the Michaelmas term and (c) approximately five practitioner seminars, drawing on practitioners from a variety of regulated sectors.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce three written essays.

Indicative reading

R Baldwin, M Cave and M Lodge Understanding Regulation (2012); M Moran, The British Regulatory State (2003); A Ogus, Regulation (2004); R Baldwin & C McCrudden, Regulation and Public Law (1987); C Hood, H Rothstein & R Baldwin, The Government of Risk (2001); R Baldwin, Rules and Government (1994); J Black, M Lodge and M Thatcher, Regulatory Innovation, (2005; C Sunstein, Risk and Reason (2002), R. Baldwin, M. Cave and M.Lodge Oxford Handbook of Regulation (2010), M Lodge and K Wegrich, Managing Regulation (2012).


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%) in the ST.

The examination will involve answering three questions out of 12.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 6.3
Merit 68.3
Pass 20.6
Fail 4.8

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2012/13: 14

Average class size 2012/13: 11

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 93.3%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)