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Discussion Papers

About the series

Discussion Papers are often the first version of a paper, which will later be published in referred journals etc. They provide an avenue for the emerging work of CARR staff, associates, visitors or invited speakers and are usually written at the closing stages of a piece of research. However, CARR has a strict policy of not publishing papers that will be appearing in an identical manner as articles in other publications.


Authors are welcome to submit to the series. An initial email outlining the proposed paper should be sent to It will be forwarded to the CARR management committee for consideration.

Published papers

Electronic copies of published papers are available below as PDF files.  If you would like to order one or more hardcopies, please contact us.

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How can the concept of public value influence UK network utility regulation?

DP 88 - Martin Cave, Janet Wright - January 2021 - ISSN 2049 2718 - Full Paper


There is much recent debate about extending the purposes of investor-owned firms to embrace the wider interests of a variety of stakeholders. Network regulatory decisions already involve extensive use of centralized social cost-benefit analysis to capture some aspects of public value. A gap remains which might be filled by a decentralized process, in which firms are supported by their regulator to expand their purposes to include the pursuit of public value, identified by regulated firms in collaboration with consumers and citizens, and delivered in innovative and entrepreneurial ways.

The role of administrative capacity in complementing performance measurement systems

DP 87 - Jacob Reilley, Nathalie Iloga Balep, Christian Huber - March 2020 - ISSN 2049 2718 - Full Paper


With the rise of New Public Management, regulators have increasingly turned to quantitative systems of performance measurement for assessing and monitoring public organizations. At the same time, there has been a swelling focus on service users as judges of organizational performance. As many have observed, regulatory initiatives which emphasize performance measurement and user-orientation are enacted quite differently across different countries, public sector contexts, and individual organizations. One reason for this variation is public organizations’ varying and sometimes inadequate capacities for compiling performance information and implementing new management practices.

Investing in Implementation

DP 86 - Jacob Kringen - January 2019 - ISSN 2049 2718 - Full Paper


Regulatory governance has included a number of recurrent strategies for improving the overall performance of regulatory regimes and for adapting and economising the use of regulatory resources. Varieties of self-regulation aim to mobilise regulatory resources within regulated organisations, and furthermore to transfer control functions from the regulator to the regulatee. Risk-based regulation aims to target limited public resources according to enterprise risk profiles. This paper explores challenges and impacts associated with these regulatory strategies in Norway, focusing in particular on risk regulation regimes related to the public enforcement of health and safety regulations.

Algorithmic Regulation

DP 85 - Leighton Andrews, Bilel Benbouzid, Jeremy Brice,Lee A. Bygrave, David Demortain, Alex Griffiths,Martin Lodge, Andrea Mennicken, Karen Yeung - September 2017 - ISSN 2049 2718 - Full Paper


Algorithmic regulation has become increasingly central to the study and practice of regulation. This collection of papers points to critical issues in the regulation of and by algorithms and highlights interdisciplinary research avenues.

Regulation Scholarship in Crisis?

DP 84 - Edited by Martin Lodge - October 2016 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


Regulatory crises have encouraged a questioning of existing theories and approaches towards the study of regulation. Is scholarship on regulation in crisis? Are there new approaches and concepts that appear valuable to explain regulation in contemporary contexts? How do different disciplines approach the study of regulation? What are the challenges of studying regulation in the global south? This discussion paper brings together international scholars to reflect on the state of the art in regulation scholarship. 

Innovation through customer engagement and negotiated settlements in water regulation. Towards a transformed regulatory state?

DP 83 - Eva Heims & Martin Lodge - April 2016 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


Across economic sectors, contemporary regulation is said to be characterised by two essential dimensions, the centrality of regulatory agencies in price-setting, and the use of the RPI-X formula to incentivise regulated companies. These dimensions have also come to play important roles in the regulation of water. This paper considers ox`ne major shift in the regulatory approach to the governance of water, namely, the move towards customer engagement in price-setting in England and Wales, as well as Scotland. By drawing on original interviews and documentary analyses, the paper demonstrates that this delegation of regulatory responsibilities to customer bodies can be explained by policy disappointment and policy entrepreneurs. It also questions whether these developments represent a transformation of the regulatory orthodoxy of the past three decades. The paper finds that despite appearances of customer engagement processes, regulators continued to play a pivotal role in price-setting in both jurisdictions.

Customer Engagement in Regualtion

DP 82 - Sharon Darcy, Roger Darlington, Sebastian Eyre, Cosmo Graham, Eva Heims, Stephen Littlechild, Martin Lodge, Trisha McAuley and Richard Moriarty - February 2016 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


Customer engagement has become a central theme in contemporary economic regulation. This discussion paper offers contributions by leading participants in these debates, offering lessons from experience and advice for future developments.

Regualtory Agencies Under Challenge

DP 81 - Sebastian Eyre, Eva Heims & Martin Lodge, Christel Koop,  Lindsay Stirton and Frank Vibert - January 2016 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


Regulatory agencies have been at the heart of public sector reform over recent decades. However, more recently, the agency model has come under challenge. Building on CARR’s workshop on ‘Regulatory Agencies under Challenge?’ as part of the ESRC-funded ‘Regulation in Crisis?’ series, Frank Vibert considers the supposed advantages and experienced problems with the regulatory agency model. Contributions from practitioner and academic perspectives, by Sebastian Eyre, Eva Heims and Martin Lodge, Lindsay Stirton and Christel Koop, offer further reflections on the experience with regulatory agencies and pointing to future challenges.

Limits of insurance as risk governance: Market failures and disaster politics in German and British private flood insurance

DP 80 - Kristian Krieger and David Demeritt - October 2015 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


Insurance is a key mechanism through which societies have been managing risks for centuries. For some, insurance is an efficient mechanism for risk management providing both regulation of risk-increasing behaviours and compensation for material damages. Others, in particular Ulrich Beck, have pointed to limits to insurability on the basis of the scale of damages and the complexity of contemporary risk. This paper engages with the question about the role of insurance in governing complex risks by describing and explaining the variable performance of flood insurance schemes in Germany and the UK against key risk governance objectives, namely, financial recovery and risk reduction. Drawing on in-depth empirical research, the paper argues that the mixed performance of flood insurance against governance objectives is shaped by the specific political, institutional and politico-economic context in which flood insurance schemes are embedded. Specifically, relations and interactions between state and private flood insurers, as well as past and present market conditions, shape how private insurance evolves, is organized, and facilitates or impedes financial recovery and risk reduction. The findings of this research provide important insights as to the limit, variety and implications of insurance as a governance mechanism for addressing contemporary risks.

Making sense of inter-organizational 'safe spaces' in business regulation

DP 79 - Julien Etienne - October 2015 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


For regulators, gathering information about the activities they regulate is crucial. For businesses, sharing information across can help address common issues better. Yet, businesses would generally not willingly share sensitive information with regulators or competitors. To overcome such reluctance, one may set up forums or channels of communication within which businesses would feel protected enough to share information with peers and regulators. Such ‘safe spaces’ have been discussed frequently, sometimes put in place, but rarely studied. To address this gap, this article presents a study of incident data sharing in the chemical and oil industries in France and the United Kingdom. It identifies multiple obstacles for information sharing that safe spaces would have great difficulty addressing. Hence, safe spaces would generally be fragile, contested, and poorly institutionalized. One should not overestimate their ability to deliver information to regulators, or to achieve self-regulation in an industry.

The Reputational Basis of Public Accountability

DP 78 - Madalina Busuioc and Martin Lodge - May 2015 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


This paper identifies and explains two core puzzles of accountability. The first is the misfit between behavioural predictions of the hegemonic political science framework for talking about accountability, namely principal-agent, and empirical findings. The second puzzle is the unrivalled popularity of accountability, given an empirical track record documenting how supposedly accountability enhancing measures often lead to opposite effects. To make sense of these puzzles, the paper considers what a ‘reputation-informed’ theoretical approach to public accountability can offer. We argue that accountability is not about reducing informational asymmetries, containing ‘drift’, or ensuring that agents stay committed to the terms of their mandate. Instead, accountability – in terms of both holding and giving – is about managing and cultivating one’s reputation vis-à-vis different audiences. It is about being seen as a reputable actor in the eyes of one’s audience(s), conveying the impression of competently performing one’s (accountability) roles, thereby generating reputational benefits.

The Regulation of Higher Education

DP 77 - Julia Black, Andrew M. Boggs, Heather Fry, Nick Hillman, Stephen Jackson, Roger King, Martin Lodge and Simeon Underwood - May 2015 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


Higher education is in a state of flux – and the arrangements of regulating this sector are increasingly under challenge. This collection considers the trajectory of regulatory change, the challenges of risk-based regulation, and the wider agenda for regulatory reform in higher education.

In the shadow of Tomioka: On the institutional invisibility of nuclear disaster

DP 76 - John Downer - December 2014 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


The 2011 meltdowns at Fukushima might have falsified long-standing expert assertions that nuclear power is ‘safe’, yet it has failed to do so. This paper looks at why. It explores two core tenets of post-Fukushima nuclear discourse: (1) that nuclear meltdowns will not occur; and (2) that nuclear accidents are ‘tolerable’. In each case, it outlines how accounts of the disaster shield the credibility of the wider nuclear industry; and it then explains why these accounts are misleading. In doing so, it offers a critical perspective on the public discourse around technological risk and disaster. It concludes with a brief discussion of the sociology of denial. Invoking both the agnotology and science and technology (STS) literatures, it argues that it is often more fruitful to temper claims of deception with a recognition of the genuine ambiguities and structural weaknesses of complex knowledge-claims.

Rational tools of government in a world of bounded rationality

DP 75 - Martin Lodge and Kai Wegrich - December 2014 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


Nudge, and the wider behavioural economics agenda, have become one of the most dominant themes in contemporary public policy. This paper points to a paradox underlying Nudge, namely, whether an approach that offers a rational approach towards bounded rationality can escape the constraints of bounded rationality itself. Firstly, this paper argues that governments and individual decision making are characterised by bounded rationality. Secondly, it considers how ways of organising Nudge inside executive government introduce their own biases; and, thirdly, how Nudge encourages particular unintended consequences. In conclusion, this paper suggests that it is time for Nudge enthusiasts to consider their own decision making biases and ‘limits to rationality’.

The innovative use of spectrum floors in the UK 4G auction to promote mobile competition

DP 74 - Geoffrey Myers - November 2013 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


The approach to competition issues in the UK 4G spectrum auction involved the innovative use of spectrum floors, i.e. the flexible reservation of portfolios of spectrum for either a new entrant or the smallest incumbent national mobile competitor (H3G). This measure emphasised output efficiency through promoting downstream competition and its implementation in the auction sought also to maximise auction efficiency (subject to the constraint of the floor) through sophisticated modifications to the already complex design of the combinatorial clock auction. Whilst the full scope of this new regulatory tool was not tested in the 4G auction, the evidence from the outcome and the bids showed how the market information in auction bids was used to choose the spectrum to be reserved as the floor which maximised the incremental value in the bids of the beneficiary net of the opportunity cost to other bidders. The use of spectrum floors led to a surprising outcome since H3G won a floor of highly valued, scarce sub-1GHz spectrum in the 800MHz band, but this reflected the consistent pattern of bids in the auction, in particular by EE and H3G itself.

Independence in Dependence: Health Technology Assessment, Quality of Life, and the Position of the Patient

DP 73 - Matthias Benzer - January 2013 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


This paper presents an examination of the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) proposed procedure for cost-effectiveness assessments which are meant to inform recommendations for decisions on which health technologies the National Health Service should fund. The focus rests on the situation this framework constructs for the patient. The enquiry is oriented by extant studies that suggest that quality of life (QOL) frameworks employed in contemporary healthcare settings articulate the problem of independence and dependence, and that they thus echo socially prevalent modes of thinking personhood. The position NICE’s framework constructs for the patient can be elucidated with a view to the problems of independence and dependence. NICE’s procedure supports the notion that patients should be actively involved in describing their health and by dint of the Institute’s preferred QOL description tool, the EQ-5D, reflects a positive appreciation of a specific form of independence and self-sufficiency for the patient. By virtue of enlisting the general public in QOL valuation, NICE’s approach assigns to the public the position of consumers and constructs for patients a situation of passivity and a relationship of dependence on the public’s health preferences. The question about the position envisioned for patients in the health sector can be posed anew.

The ‘Californication’ of Government? Crowdsourcing and the Red Tape Challenge

DP 72 - Martin Lodge and Kai Wegrich - November 2012 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


Much has been said about the potential appeal of digital government devices in transforming the way government operates. This paper explores the most ambitious attempt by UK central government so far to draw on ‘crowdsourcing’ to consult and act on regulatory reform, the ‘Red Tape Challenge’. The paper argues that the results of this exercise do not represent any major change to traditional challenges to consultation processes, in fact, the findings suggest even less informed consultation processes. The paper progresses in three steps. It first introduces crowdsourcing as a consultative device. It then considers the specific context of the the UK government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’. In its main empirical section, the paper analyses both the impact and the nature of online commentary. The conclusion points to the wider implications on digital government and ‘better regulation’ initiatives.

Mega-Events and Risk Colonisation: Risk Management and the Olympics

DP 71 - Will Jennings - March 2012 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


This paper uses the idea of risk colonisation (Rothstein et al. 2006) to analyse how societal and institutional risks simultaneously make mega-events such as the Olympics a problematic site for risk management while contributing to the spread of the logic and formal managerial practice of risk management. It outlines how mega-events are linked to broader societal and institutional hazards and threats but at the same time induce their own unique set of organisational pathologies and biases. In this context, it is argued that the combination of societal and institutional risks create pressure for safety and security which in turn give rise to the growing influence of risk as an object of planning, operations and communication both in organisation of the Games and governance of the Olympic movement. This is consistent with the colonising influence of risk over time: both in the creation of formal institutions (such as risk management teams and divisions) and the proliferation of the language of ‘risk’ as an object of regulation and control.

How Firms Translate Regulatory Messages

DP 70 - Sharon Gilad - March 2012 - ISSN 2049-2718 - Full Paper


How is the meaning of 'compliance' constructed within regulatory regimes and bycorporations? This important question has received surprisingly little attention inregulation scholarship. The key focus of existing regulatory research has been on theshaping of organisations' motivations for compliance, while bypassing the processeswhereby corporations interpret and enact regulatory demands. Building on recentSociological New Institutionalism research, this article argues that the content ofcompliance is shaped by regulators and firms' sequential and continuous framing,reframing and translation of regulatory messages. The result of this process is that even when regulated corporations are committed to comply, their translation of regulation will be shaped by local framings of problems and solutions. These arguments are based on a case study of the British Financial Service Authority's (FSA) framing of its requirement that firms 'treat customers fairly' and of the firms' strategic and non-strategic reframing and translation of this demand. The contribution of the article is both theoretical – highlighting the interpretative gap in current compliance theory – and methodological – developing a methodology for analysis of compliance-meaning construction.

The Risk University: Risk identification at Higher Education institutions in England

DP 69 - Michael Huber - July 2011 - ISBN 978 0 85328 4345 - Full Paper


In 2000, the Higher Education Funding Council of England required all universities to implement risk management as a governance tool since it expected an increase in efficiency in decision making. While the regulatory regime has been described in literature, the response of universities remained greatly unknown. This paper outlines a first attempt to investigate the identification strategies of academic risks. Based on a limited set of risk registers developed by universities covering the entire range of English universities, this discussion paper presents three major findings. Firstly, universities could not capture the core functions of universities, teaching and research, with organisational means. Secondly, universities had to find proxies that they could link up with organisational decisions. In this context, the emerging concept of reputational risk provides an all-purpose tool for risk management allowing universities to capture all possible challenges and problems in terms of risk. Thirdly, when universities identify academic risks, structural features such size, international and research orientation or the degree of collegiality in decision making shape the way academic risks are defined. These initial findings could direct further research that seems essential for better understanding of academic risk management and its effect on universities.

Quality of Life and Risk Conceptions in UK Healthcare Regulation: Towards a Critical Analysis

DP 68 - Matthias Benzer - March 2011 - ISBN 978 0 85328 4338 - Full Paper


The paper outlines a way of gaining fresh perspectives on the functions of ‘quality of life’ (QOL) conceptions in the health sector. The first objective is to spotlight a seldom considered issue. The paper describes different uses of the QOL concept and different links between the categories of QOL and risk in the works of three UK health regulators: NICE, the CQC, and the GMC. It is suggested that closer investigations of the diversity of applications of QOL and associated risk conceptions in health regulation can throw new light on their role in contemporary health systems. The second objective is to provide signposts for critical examinations of this issue. The paper draws attention to three contextual factors – knowledge selection, value dimensions, and decisions on participation – which seem to shape, and may therefore elucidate, health regulators’ various operationalisations of QOL conceptions and connections between QOL and risk ideas.

The Failure of a Failure Regime: From Insolvency to De-Authorisation for NHS Foundation Trusts

DP 67 - Peter Miller and Liisa Kurunmäki - March 2011 - ISBN 978 0 85328 4352 - Full Paper


This paper examines the failure of a ‘failure regime’ for NHS Foundation Trusts. More particularly, it considers the proposals to create a failure regime for NHS Foundation Trusts that were set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2003, and that drew explicitly on the Insolvency Act 1986. These proposals were subsequently abandoned in favour of a regime based on a notion of ‘de-authorisation’. This case is of considerable interest, as the category of failure has come to saturate public life, while the ideas and instruments for conceptualising and calculating failure have not received the attention they deserve. This paper suggests that failing and failure do not have the objectivity and inevitability often associated with them, and that both are formed out of a set of calculative practices and financial norms that allow complex processes of mediation between domains and desired outcomes. It is important, we argue, to analyse the roles played by metrics such as ratio analysis and risk indexes, for it is through these that this mediation takes place. It is important also, we suggest, to explore that happens when attempts are made to model ‘failure regimes’ for public services on ideas and instruments designed for the corporate world. Further, we argue that it is important to examine the co-creation of new entities, and of the failure regimes for regulating those entities. We suggest that the case examined here has implications that go beyond the domain of healthcare, and that it highlights important issues concerning the role that ‘exit’ models can play in the regulation of public services.

Self-Reporting Untoward Events to External Controllers: Accounting for Reporting Failure by a Top Tier Chemical Plant

DP 66 - Julien Etienne - September 2010 - ISBN 978 0 85328 432 1 - Full Paper


This paper explores the reasons of hazardous organizations for responding to state rules requesting them to report untoward events to public regulators. The literature on external reporting of untoward events remains remarkably limited, and this paper contributes to it by providing a rare empirical account of the micro-level factors and processes behind reporting failures. It builds on empirical research on a case in the French chemical industry. The paper discusses a reporting failure by addressing principally managers' motivations and how they are shaped by the regulatory context, the regulator-regulatee relationship, and the organization's policies and rules. The paper provides also a vivid picture of patterns of over-compliance, compliance and non-compliance by the same regulated organization, and makes suggestions on the power and limits of self-regulation to help fulfil regulatory goals such as self-reporting of untoward events.

Analyzing Public Management Policy Cycles in the European Commission: Oversight of Budget Control and the Integrated Internal Control Framework

DP 65 - Michael Barzelay, Roger Levy and Antonio Martin Porras Gomez - August 2010 - ISBN 978 0 85328 439 0 - Full Paper


The European Commission has experienced several public management policy cycles since the mid-1990s, during the Santer, Prodi, and Barroso presidencies. A specific public management issue included on the Barroso Commission's (2004-2008) policy agenda was based on indicators of significant irregularity in budget execution, signalled repeatedly by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) in its annual Declaration of Assurance (DAS). The 'negative DAS' problem led to a declared Barroso Commission strategic objective to achieve a 'positive DAS' by 2009. The approach to a solution to this problem was 'integrated internal control', an international reference point within the accounting and auditing professions. The result was a centrally co-ordinated Commission project aiming to modify management and audit practices within both the Commission and EU Member States. This article reports on the 'positive DAS' and 'integrated internal control' policy cycle and explains its agenda-setting, alternative-specification, and decisional processes.

Enlisting Commitment to Internal Compliance via Reframing and Delegation

DP 64 - Sharon Gilad - June 2010 - ISBN 978 0 85328 431 4 - Full Paper


Regulators in different countries and domains experiment with regulatory strategies that allow firms to adapt regulation to their individual circumstances, while holding them to account for the adequacy and efficacy of their self-regulation systems. In this article, I use the term 'process-oriented regulation,' to denote this family of similar, albeit not identical, regulatory institutions, which include management-based regulation and new forms of principles-based regulation. Notwithstanding the diversity of labels and configurations of process-oriented regulatory institutions, a key question regards the extent to which they are likely to enlist firms' commitment to regulatory goals. To contribute to the emerging empirical research on this question, the article analyzes financial firms' responses to a process-oriented regulatory initiative, which sought to transform the widespread culture of product 'mis-selling' in this industry. The article's main focus is on the strategies sought by internal supporters of this initiative to overcome their organizations' resistance and to attain managers' commitment to its implementation. It is suggested that under conditions of substantial discrepancy between regulatory expectations and firms' organizational and individual identities, commitment to process-oriented regulation entails its reframing into alternative business discourses and a leading role to non-compliance professionals and other managers in this process. These strategies, while neutralizing resistance and enhancing commitment, run the risk of altering regulatory goals.

A Curious Reconstruction? The Shaping of 'Marketized' Forensic Science

DP 63 - Chris Lawless - May 2010 - ISBN 978 0 85328 430 7 - Full Paper


The integration of science into policing functions continues to be a subject of considerable official concern. Sociological study of forensic science has demonstrated great promise in illuminating the dynamics of the law-science relationship, but has yet to be fully extended to issues relating to policing. This paper seeks to address the importance of extending research activity in this area by addressing the effects of broader political and economic trends on the development of forensic science and its use in criminal investigations. It focuses on the influence of 'liberalizing' policies on policing functions, which have extended to the provision of scientific support to the police. Forensic scientific services in England and Wales are now procured via a market-led system, and an economic imperative can be seen to have permeated strongly into this domain. With recourse to examples of a series of initiatives, I show how the application of liberalizing processes has permeated into the science-police relationship in various ways, leading to the emergence of assemblages which serve to differentially reconstruct the relationship between forensic scientists and their chief 'customers', the police. I argue that these differences in reconstruction reflect ongoing tensions between two different interpretations of scientific integration - one which is science-led and another which is police-led. Drawing upon these examples, I demonstrate how these tensions manifest themselves, but also show how these two interpretations co-exist. I show how an exploration of these initiatives aids understanding of how science, policing, and liberal modes of governance co-evolve.

The Libertarian Origins of Cybercrime: Unintended Side-Effects of a Political Utopia

DP 62 - Jeanette Hofmann - April 2010 - ISBN 978 0 85328 404 8 - Full Paper


Cybercrime and its potential ramifications exemplify 'one of those things that nobody wants' (Popper 1963). From today's perspective it would have been easy to foresee and at least partly prevent the mischief of cybercrime. One therefore wonders what early developers and users of the Internet actually envisioned, and how malpractices such as spreading damaging viruses relate to these visions. This essay approaches this question by interpreting cybercrime as an unintended consequence of the utopian dreams that flourished during the early days of the Internet. In itself a highly innovative activity, cybercrime can be seen as an ironic counterpart to the expectations of an egalitarian cyberspace whose technical and social norms condemned discrimination against any type of applications and uses.

Anatomy of a Disaster: Why Some Accidents Are Unavoidable

DP 61 - John Downer - March 2010 - ISBN 978 0 85328 403 1 - Full Paper


This paper looks at the fateful 1988 fuselage failure of Aloha Airlines Flight 243 to suggest and illustrate a new perspective on the sociology of technological failure and the question of whether such failures are potentially avoidable. Drawing on core insights from the sociology of scientific knowledge, it highlights, and then challenges, a fundamental principle underlying our understanding of technological risk: idea that 'failures' always connote 'errors' and are, in principle, foreseeable. From here, it suggests a new conceptual tool for Disaster Theory, by proposing a novel category of man-made calamity: what it calls the 'Epistemic Accident'. It concludes by exploring the implications of Epistemic Accidents and sketching their relationship to broader issues concerning technology and society, and social theory's approach to failure.

Silence of Evidence in the Case of Pandemic Influenza Risk Assessment

DP 60 - Erika Mansnerus - February 2010 - ISBN 978 0 85328 402 4 - Full Paper


During a pandemic, such as current H1N1 'swine flu', decisions are made with a sense of urgency. Yet, current policies emphasise the need to ground policies on evidence. This paper studies the tension that remains in decision-making processes when evidence is weak or 'silent' due to the sudden or unpredictable course of an event. The main focus is on the so-called 'known unknowns', factors of which we have only limited or weak evidence in the pandemic risk assessment processes. These processes cover, for example, monitoring the course of the pandemic, estimating the most affected age groups, and assessing population-level pharmaceutical interventions. This paper conceptualises the 'unknown' within these processes as silence of evidence. As the case of pandemic risk assessment shows, a new, emerging situation has not yet accumulated a robust body of evidence for decision making. These uncertainties are conceptualised as silent evidence. In a similar way, historical and archaeological studies acknowledge that there is evidence that is not yet discovered, interpreted or found. This paper develops a new way to look at unknown factors that affect risk assessment under a pandemic by focusing on the tension that remains in decision-making processes under pressure.

The Impact of Regulatory Policy on Individual Behaviour: A Goal Framing Theory Approach

DP 59 - Julien Etienne - January 2010 - ISBN 978 0 85328 401 7 - Full Paper


This paper presents a theoretical framework for analysing regulatees' responses to behavioural expectations set for them in public regulation. It identifies the main variables and mechanisms through which regulatory policy may influence individual choices. The article builds on Siegwart Lindenberg's goal framing theory. The theoretical argument is supported by an extensive range of examples borrowed from the empirical literature on regulatory compliance. As such, it fills an important lacuna of compliance studies: the absence of a formal theoretical base capable of encompassing the numerous findings of the empirical literature. The theoretical framework also gives a consistent account of the cumulated influence of heterogeneous motives on (non)compliance decisions, and thus provides a better understanding of responses to regulation than there was before.

The Many Meanings of 'Standard': the Politics of the International Standard for Food Risk Analysis

DP 58 - David Demortain - January 2010 - ISBN 978 0 85328 400 0 - Full Paper


This paper deals with the creation of international procedural standards. It studies the case of the international standard for risk analysis in food safety. The main argument of the paper is that the creation of one standard in one particular arena can reflect a diversity of relations to centrally composed rules and projects of harmonization, or regulatory languages. It is not sufficient to have a pre-established model of risk analysis, diffused by transnational experts, for a standard to be set. Creating a standard requires bridging the different regulatory languages that are expressed through the model. The emphasis on 'principles', or generic provisions, as a strategy to set standards - that is representative of the contemporary expansion of standards (Brunsson and Jacobsson 2000) - can be explained as such a strategy of reconciliation. The paper studies both the origin of the risk analysis model, the two distinct relations of transnational experts and of governments (that of Tunisia in particular) to the model, and the production of a standard in the Codex Alimentarius (with particular attention to the positions of the Tunisian delegate), to highlight this presence of politics in international standard setting.

Rights as Risk: Managing Human Rights and Risk in the UK Prison Sector

DP 57 - Noel Whitty - January 2010 - ISBN 978 0 85328 399 7 - Full Paper


Discourses of both risk and human rights circulate on a daily basis in the UK prison sector. Little attention, however, has been devoted to one overlap: the co-existing demands of organisational risk management and Human Rights Act compliance. This paper begins by highlighting some of the shifts towards 'business risk' management in prison governance, alongside the increasing recognition that human rights have the ability to manifest as significant organisational risks (for example, legal or reputational). It then draws upon three 'rights as risk' prisoner case studies from across the United Kingdom which vividly demonstrate how human rights violations can produce legal risk, and what I term 'legal risk+', for a particular prison organisation. By focusing on how actors outside the organisation have transformed human rights non-compliance into different types of risk, some of the effects of failure to manage human rights risk in the prison sector are illuminated. The paper ends with a call for closer scrutiny of the potential of organisational risk management to result in rights compliance - whereby human rights are viewed through a risk lens, and not just a rights one.

Modelled Encounters with Public Health Risks: How Do We Predict the 'Unpredictable'?

DP 56 - Erika Mansnerus - November 2009 - ISBN 978 0 85328 398 0 - Full Paper


Encounters with risk, as Hutter and Power (2005, 11) clarify, are events of problematization that 'place in question existing attention to risk and its modes of identification, recognition and definition'. Infectious diseases, as a public health risk, call for new ways of encountering their continuously changing, uncertain nature. When a new, emerging infection appears, or when vaccination coverage fails to provide population-wide protection, the preventive and protective measures against risks need to be re-assessed and developed further. Computer-based modelling techniques provide a set of tools for encountering public health risks. What kinds of model-based predictions are utilised in public health decision-making processes and on what basis do we rely on these predictions? These questions are addressed through a notion of modelled encounters with public health risks.The main focus is on two modes of predictive encounters with public health risks. First, by analysing the case of Haemophilus influenzae type b bacterial circulation and the effectiveness of vaccination interventions to reduce it, I will introduce the notion of explanation-based predictions. These predictions are capable of addressing short-term developments in the transmission of Hib by explaining its epidemiological mechanisms. Secondly, I will study scenario-building predictions that anticipate the course of a pandemic influenza outbreak. Through these cases, the nature of model-based prediction is discussed as modelled encounters with public health risks. These encounters provide an evidence-base for public health decision-making processes.The study builds on a long-term ethnographic research project on mathematical modelling of infectious diseases with a research group from the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki (the Hib case). The data on the pandemic influenza preparedness planning is gathered from scientific publications and from policy documents of a national and international level.

Tools of Security Risk Management for the London 2012 Olympic Games and FIFA 2006 World Cup in Germany

DP 55 - Will Jennings and Martin Lodge - November 2009 - ISBN 978 0 85328 397 3 - Full Paper


Mega-events such as the Olympic Games and the football World Cup represent a special venue for the practice of risk management. This paper explores management of security risks in the case of two sporting mega-events, the London 2012 Olympic Games and the FIFA 2006 World Cup in Germany. The analysis progresses in three stages. First, it explores three explanations that have dominated the literature on policy instruments and tools and introduces the generic tools of government approach developed by Christopher Hood (1983). Second, it reviews the tools used for security risk management at the two mega-events. Third, it evaluates competing explanations of tool choice and degree to which these are consistent with organisational strategies of risk management at the events. The findings highlight the importance of national political systems in influencing tool choice.

Watching the Watchmaker: On Regulating the Social in Lieu of the Technical

DP 54 - John Downer - June 2009 - ISBN 978 0 85328 396 6 - Full Paper


This paper looks at the problem of expertise in regulation by examining the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) 'type-certification' process, through which they evaluate new designs of civil aircraft. It notes that the FAA delegate a large amount of this work to the manufacturers themselves, and discusses why they do this by invoking arguments from the sociology of science and technology. It suggests that - contrary to popular portrayal - regulators of 'high' technologies face an inevitable epistemic barrier when making technological assessments, which forces them to delegate technical questions to people with more tacit knowledge, and hence to 'regulate' at a distance by evaluating 'trust' rather than 'technology'. It then unravels some of the implications of this and its relation to our theories of regulation and 'regulatory capture'.

When Failure is an Option: Redundancy, reliability and regulation in complex technical systems

DP 53 - John Downer - May 2009 - ISBN 978 0 85328 395 9 - Full Paper


This paper argues that redundancy in engineering, should be understood as a 'design paradigm' that frames regulatory assessments and interpretations of all complex technical systems, profoundly shaping decisions and judgements about modern technologies. It will further argue that the 'redundancy paradigm' used by regulators contains epistemic ambiguities that lead to imperfect predictions about the effects of redundancy in practice. By deconstructing the logic of redundancy in relation to aviation regulation, this paper illuminates much wider issues about technology governance.

The Administrative Burden Reduction Policy Boom in Europe: Comparing Mechanisms of Policy Diffusion

DP 52 - Kai Wegrich March 2009 - ISBN 978 0 85328 144 3 - Full Paper


Much has been written on the diffusion of public management and regulatory reform tools. Available evidence suggests that cross-national policy diffusion is an increasingly significant phenomenon, especially in the European context. While internationalisation of policy discourses and expert communities are regarded as key driving forces of policy diffusion, public management reforms are also said to be particularly vulnerable to mechanisms of 'diffusion without convergence'. This paper analyses the case of policies aiming at reducing administrative burdens of regulations through the lens of the literature on policy diffusion. The diffusion of the so-called Standard Cost Model for measuring administrative burden between 2003 and 2007 is used as a case to explore the mechanisms facilitating policy diffusion in this domain. The analysis reveals patterns of rapid diffusion. This policy boom has been driven by a combination of different mechanisms of policy diffusion rather than by a single driving factor.

The Administrative Burden Reduction Policy Boom in Europe: Comparing mechanisms of policy diffusion

DP 51 - Sebastian Botzem and Jeanette Hofmann - December 2008 - ISBN 978 0 85328 143 6 - Full Paper


Much has been written on the diffusion of public management and regulatory reform tools. Available evidence suggests that cross-national policy diffusion is an increasingly significant phenomenon, especially in the European context. While internationalisation of policy discourses and expert communities are regarded as key driving forces of policy diffusion, public management reforms are also said to be particularly vulnerable to mechanisms of 'diffusion without convergence'. This paper analyses the case of policies aiming at reducing administrative burdens of regulations through the lens of the literature on policy diffusion. The diffusion of the so-called Standard Cost Model for measuring administrative burden between 2003 and 2007 is used as a case to explore the mechanisms facilitating policy diffusion in this domain. The analysis reveals patterns of rapid diffusion. This policy boom has been driven by a combination of different mechanisms of policy diffusion rather than by a single driving factor.

Institutional Polymorphism: The Designing of the European Food Safety Authority with regard to the European Medicines Agency

DP 50 - David Demortain - April 2008 - ISBN 978 0 85328 142 9 - Full Paper


This paper looks at the formation and designing of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). It seeks to assess the reality of institutional isomorphism in the European Union. It does so by analysing why references were made during the formation of the EFSA to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), and the active differentiation of its design by actors involved in the process. The paper argues that institutional design is the encounter between a political decision to create an agency and the norms and practices that constitute sector-specific regulatory regimes. Institutional design across sectors derives from the same institutional principles, but detailed rules and structures eventually differ because they reflect the prevailing conception of the job of the future agency, such as assessing risks or approving products, which substantiate and legitimize the decision to establish it.

Gammelfleisch Everywhere? Public Debate, Variety of Worldviews and Regulatory Change

DP 49 - Martin Lodge, Kai Wegrich and Gail McElroy - January 2008 - ISBN 978 0 85328 141 2 - Full Paper


Cultural theory has attracted considerable interest in the study of risk regulation. There has, however, been a lack of a systematic interest in its claims and in methodological issues. In this paper, we present seven claims that are either directly drawn from central claims of cultural theory or from complementary theories and assess them in the light of one single case, failure in meat inspections in Germany. These claims are assessed through the analysis of argumentation in newspapers.

Building a Boundary Object: The Evolution of Financial Risk Management

DP 48 - Yuval Millo and Donald Mackenzie - December 2007 - ISBN 978 0 85328 140 5 - Full Paper


The paper traces the intertwined evolution of financial risk management and the financial derivatives markets. Spanning from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, this paper reveals the social, political and organizational factors that underpinned the exponential success of one of today's leading risk management methodologies, the applications based on the Black-Scholes-Merton options pricing model. Using empirical data collected from primary documents and interviews, the paper argues that the remarkable success of today's financial risk management should be attributed primarily to the communicative and organizational aspects of the methods rather than to their accuracy or validity. The analysis claims that financial risk management became a boundary object - a set of instructions and practices that served as a common ground and as a basis for discussion and operation despite having quite different meanings to the different communities of practice involved. As risk management became an integral part of common organizational market practices (e.g. margin calculation and intra-portfolio coordination) the actual content of the predictions that risk management systems produced became less relevant. In fact, a seemingly paradoxical shift took place: as the consensus around risk management systems was established, the accuracy and validity of the predictions produced by them became less important.

Analyzing Near-Miss Events: Risk Management in Incident Reporting and Investigation Systems

DP 47 - Carl Macrae - December 2007 - ISBN 978 0 85328 139 9 - Full Paper


This paper examines the practices that support an important risk management strategy in many organizations-analyzing and learning from past incidents of operational error and failure. Risk management has become an increasingly important managerial function, and a range of prescriptive standards and guidelines for risk management have been produced. The situated work practices that underlie risk management in complex organizations have, however, received little empirical attention. To address this gap, this paper presents a qualitative, inductive study of the operation of Incident Reporting and Investigation Systems (IRIS) in airlines. This research aimed to characterize and map the assumptions, beliefs, strategies and tactics that determine risk management practice in this setting. Practices of risk identification, risk assessment and risk resolution were examined and characterized through three innovative concepts: interpretive vigilance, organizational risk resilience and participative networks. Characterizing practice in this way allows a range of theoretical and practical implications to be developed concerning the place of organizational knowledge, control and culture in risk management.

Fishermen and Forecasts: How Barometers Helped Make the Meteorological Department Safer in Victorian Britain

DP 46 - Sarah Dry - October 2007 - ISBN 978 0 85328 138 2 - Full Paper


In 1854, Admiral FitzRoy, acting as the first head of the Meteorological Department, initiated a project to distribute fishery barometers to poor fishing communities to help them predict poor weather. At roughly the same time, FitzRoy developed a controversial system of telegraphing weather forecasts to coastal towns to warn them of impending storms, the first of its kind in Britain. This episode serves as a case study in the role of tacit and formal knowledge in risk management and the construction of responsible users of scientific information. Rather than contributing to formal risk management in the new government office, the fishery barometers distributed by FitzRoy and the Meteorological Department were explicitly excluded from the wider project to map British and global weather. But by being excluded from the formal system, these barometers and their fishermen users were in fact able to contribute to the overall safety of the national system of meteorology. This study reveals that autonomous individuals can augment formalized risk management systems by remaining separate from them in key respects.

Standardising Through Concepts: Scientific Experts and the International Development of the HACCP Food Safety Standard

DP 45 - David Demortain - August 2007 - ISBN 978 0 85328 070 5 - Full Paper


This paper deals with international standard-setting. Using the HACCP food safety standard as the basis of discussion, this paper considers the influence of scientific experts on the regulatory process. What is usually referred to as the diffusion or dissemination of soft or voluntary standards is here explained in terms of transferability of a regulatory concept. It is the ability of scientific experts to transform practices into a universal concept and, conversely, to develop technologies for users which translate the concept into practice, that explains why this reference has travelled so well across countries, industry sectors and historical periods. Scientific experts played a translating role between standard-setters and groups of practical users. This highlights the counter-intuitive distribution of power in standard-setting: while experts dominate the development of generic rules, official rule-makers (such as governments) assert their authority by developing alternative technologies for the appropriation of the standard by users and, sometimes, allow the latter to deviate from experts' universal concepts where these are shown to be problematic.

From Green Fields to Green Felt Tables and Back: the Origin of Index-Based Derivatives

DP 44 - Yuval Millo - May 2007 - ISBN 978 0 85328 069 9 - Full Paper


The introduction of index-based derivatives is one of the most important
developments in post-war financial markets; today these contracts are amongst the most commonly traded financial instruments. Yet, no sociological accounts based on empirical material have focused on the creation of index-based derivatives as a social and political institution. This paper offers index-based derivatives as a topic for sociological investigation. Focusing on the creation and regulatory approval of the first exchange-traded index-based futures in the early 1980s, the paper assesses empirical evidence collected through interviews with key figures who took part in the historical events, as well as extensive archival research. The paper makes two central claims. Firstly, that the nature of index-based financial markets is critically dependent on the nature of the qualification process it undergoes - a process through which the particular qualities are negotiated and attached to the products and in particular on the viability of the connections made between the financial contract and the assets on which it is based. Secondly, that qualification of products takes place within a network made up of heterogeneous agents, whose worldviews and motivations are frequently conflicting.

Interrogating the Unknown: Risk Analysis and Sensemaking in Airline Safety Oversight

DP 43 - Carl Macrae - May 2007 - ISBN 978 0 85328 068 2 - Full Paper


The initial identification of risks in organizations is one of the key challenges of risk management. This research investigates how weak signals of emerging risks are identified and interpreted within airlines. An ethnographic study of airline flight safety investigators was conducted to examine the interpretive work of risk analysis and the sensemaking processes employed to identify risks. The findings suggest that the perception and use of organizational ignorance was central to this work. Risks were identified by constructing and enlarging small moments of doubt, where current knowledge was found to be questionable or suspect in some way. These sensemaking processes were supported by an analytical culture organized around assumptions that organizational knowledge is inherently limited, partial and fallible.

Fighting Fires in Testing Times: Exploring a Staged Response Hypothesis for Blame Management in Two Exam Fiasco Cases

DP 42 - Christopher Hood, Will Jennings and Brian Hogwood, with Craig Beeston - July 2007 - ISBN 978 0 85328 067 5 - Full Paper


This paper tests a 'staged-response' hypothesis about the blame management strategies of public officeholders facing blame firestorms in the media after serious failures in the public-exam system for school-leavers in Scotland in 2000 and England in 2002. The authors develop a method for systematic analysis and comparison of the behaviour of officeholders confronted with such firestorms and construct time series intervention models to estimate the impact of strategies upon the next day's blame level. The findings do not fit the hypothesis precisely, but are consistent with the underlying thrust of theories of blame avoidance. The findings also raise questions over claims about the effectiveness of presentational strategies for managing blame, the idea that administrative delegation can protect ministers in parliamentary systems when being criticized for operational failures, and that the appointment of inquiries is used to put tricky issues into the political 'long grass'.

Business Risk Management Practices: The Influence of State Regulatory Agencies and Non-State Sources

DP 41 - Bridget M Hutter and Clive J Jones - June 2006 - ISBN 0 7530 1972 8


The influence of external organizations and pressures on business risk management practices has hitherto been examined through the influence of state regulatory regimes on businesses. This literature concentrates on key socio-legal concerns about the influence of the law in social and economic life (Heimer 1996) which is an important source of information about business risk management practices. However most of this work does not clearly differentiate the importance of state regulatory regimes relative to other external pressures on business. We know that the sources of regulation and risk management are diversifying, as are the tools and techniques employed to manage and regulate risks. What we do not have is much empirically informed research about the range of sources influencing the business world and in particular the weighting of influence exercised by them. In this paper we will explore the different external pressures upon business risk management through an empirical study of the management of food safety and food hygiene risks. A broader objective is to throw some further light onto the debate about regulation within and beyond the state.

Accounting, Hybrids and the Management of Risk

DP 40 - Peter Miller, Liisa Kurunmäki and Ted O'LearyDecember 2006ISBN 0 7530 1695 5


This essay addresses the implications of accounting and hybrids for the management of risk. It suggests that the management of organizations is rapidly being transformed into and formalized around the management of risk, while much of the real management of risks occurs elsewhere. We argue firstly and most generally that hybrids in all their varied forms are one of the key sites where uncertainty is managed beyond the formalized practices of risk management. Secondly, we argue that the management literature on hybrids has been too focused on organizational forms, and has neglected the hybrid practices, processes and expertises that make possible lateral information flows and cooperation across the boundaries of organizations and firms. Thirdly, we argue that accounting practices are central to these issues, yet these practices are often neglected by the wider management and organizational literatures. Accounting, we suggest, is constantly engaged in a dual hybridization process: seeking to make visible and calculable the hybrids that it encounters, while at the same time hybridizing itself through encounters with a range of other disciplines. We address these issues in three stages. In the first section, we draw attention to the key disciplines that have 'discovered' hybrids, albeit at different times and in differing ways. In the second section, some selected examples of hybrid practices, processes and expertises are identified and briefly discussed. In the third section, and in conclusion, the implications of accounting and hybrids for the management of risk are considered.

At No Serious Risk? Border Control and Asylum Policy in Britain, 1994-2004

DP 39 - Will Jennings - May 2007 - ISBN 0 7530 1964 7 - Full Paper


In the post-9/11 era, the British government's formulation and administration of policy relating to immigration controls is increasingly organized around the notion of 'risk', and mobilized through the state's technologies of inspection and measurement (see Scott 1998). This paper considers colonization of asylum policy in Britain, between 1994 and 2004, by the concepts of risk and risk management. It then modifies the thermostatic model of policy-opinion responsiveness (see Wlezien 1995, 1996, 2004) for empirical analysis of the interactions of policy, bureaucracy and public opinion in the control and administration of asylum by the Home Office in Britain, over the period between 1994 and 2004. This paper draws upon methods of time series regression and intervention analysis to estimate responses of specified policy outputs to (i) changes in public opinion and (ii) interventions by government. These enable discussion of the co-existence of responsiveness and risk in this particular policy domain.

Analysing the Higher Education Regulatory State

DP 38 - Roger King December 2006 ISBN 0 7530 1963 9 - Full Paper


This paper explores the notion of the higher education regulatory state and particularly the relationship, if any, between regulatory scholarship more widely and research on higher education governance. It suggests that the regulatory state in an age of governance requires both 'centred' and 'de-centred' analyses. It argues that there is no convincing case for regulatory exceptionalism for higher education in comparison with the study of other sectors and that a regulatory lens offers new insights for both regulatory and higher education researchers. The paper recognizes convergences in regulatory approaches in previously quite disparate national systems of higher education but suggests that key differences can be identified. The notion of 'regulatory intermediation' is introduced to describe critical groups at the interface of the regulator and the regulated in higher education, to link centred and decentred regulatory approaches, and to help understand how regulatory delivery is discharged and amended. A recent research project by the author on quality assurance auditors is used to explore the retention of tacit and peer traditions within more overtly formalized methods for external evaluation of universities. Finally, a brief comparison of the different worlds of the regulatory state as found in higher education, healthcare, legal services, and accountancy is undertaken, particularly to illustrate how the regulatory state plays out differently in various policy sectors.

The Role of Non-State Actors in Regulation

DP 37 - Bridget M. Hutter - May 2006 - ISBN 0 7530 1939 6 - Full Paper


There is growing recognition that regulation is not the exclusive domain of the state. The regulatory capacities of non-governmental actors are increasingly recognized and on occasions formally co-opted by the state. This paper examines the ways in which a variety of economic and civil society actors contribute to the information gathering, standard setting and behaviour modification aspects of regulatory control. Particular attention is paid to the international aspects of this contribution and the limitations and advantages of different forms of non-state regulation.

Translation and Standardization: Audit World-Building in Post-Soviet Russia

DP 36 - Andrea Mennicken December 2006 ISBN 0 7530 1938 8 - Full Paper


Within the past thirty years or so, the government of social and economic life has occurred increasingly through international and non-governmental forms of rule and regulation. Yet little is known about the dynamics that international audit standardization projects create below the global level of economic and regulatory activity. This paper examines effects of global audit rule-setting on local organizational forms and practices through a detailed empirical investigation of the use and circulation of International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) within a large post-Soviet Russian audit firm. In the firm studied, much of the appeal of the ISAs was rooted in desires to develop an internationally-oriented business strategy as well as link up with Western audit markets. But the standards became embedded in locally partitioned hierarchies of expertise and credibility. On the one hand, the global aspirations of the firm continued to be couched in former socialist practices of command and control. On the other hand, the accomplishment of compliance with the international standards came to be highly dependent on the definitional powers of the West, represented by the big international audit firms and multilateral organisations, such as the World Bank or the EBRD. The ISAs turned out to be of lower status than the names of the international audit firms and their networks. Becoming defined as working in accordance with international standards became closely linked to the firm's ability to position itself, and the standards respectively, within one of these networks. The paper examines the transformations that the firm underwent in re-defining itself in terms of a globally-oriented business strategy and discusses the implications this had for the roles and relevance of the international auditing standards.

Enterprise Risk Management in Action

DP 35 - Anette Mikes - August 2005 - ISBN 0 7530 1934 5 - Full Paper


Enterprise risk management (ERM) has recently emerged as a widespread practice in financial institutions. It has been increasingly codified and encrypted into regulatory, corporate governance and organisational management blueprints. A burgeoning literature of regulatory and practitioner texts is indicative of the apparent diversity of ambitions, objectives and techniques that constitute the ERM agenda. Making sense of these developments is a challenge. Presenting field-based evidence from two large banking organisations, this paper argues for the existence of systematic variations in ERM practices in the financial services industry. The cases illustrate four risk management ideal types and show how they form the 'risk management mix' in a given organisation. The paper attempts to explain the differences in the two risk management mixes pointing towards firm-specific and institutional pressures. The latter suggest that the cases are likely to be reminiscent of ERM practices in other financial services organisations, and are thus indicative of the current co-existence of alternative models of ERM. In particular, two types of ERM models are postulated: one driven by a strong shareholder value imperative ('value-based' ERM), the other corresponding to the demands of the risk-based internal control imperative ('strategic' ERM).

Government by Elicitation: Engaging the Stakeholders or Listening to the Idiots?

DP 34 - Javier Lezaun and Linda Soneryd - May 2006 - ISBN 0 7530 1933 7 - Full Paper


There is a new centrality of the public to science and technology policy, and a variety of public consultation mechanisms are being widely applied to elicit opinions from citizens on matters concerning novel technologies. In this context, the paper explores how legitimate constituencies of science and technology are configured and managed in public consultation exercises. We build our analysis on two recent examples: the 'GM Nation? Public Debate' on the future of food biotechnology in the UK, and a Transparency Forum recently carried out in Sweden on the risks of mobile telephony. We consider the paradoxical combination in these exercises of a tendency to produce static images of the public, with a valuation of mobility - of citizens, of their opinions, and of the issues at hand - as a key outcome of deliberation. Through a particular attention to the drawing of distinction between 'stakeholders' and the 'general public', we argue for the need to reflect on the politics of consultation, and to develop a new vocabulary to evaluate their worth. In this regard, the discussion concludes with a reflection on our changed views of the citizen vis-à-vis the idiot - understanding the latter, in the classical sense of the term, as the individual who minds exclusively his or her private affairs.

The Attractions of Risk-based Regulation: Accounting for the emergence of risk ideas in regulation

DP 33 - Bridget M. Hutter March 2005 ISBN 0 7530 1860 8 - Full Paper


Recent decades have witnessed a massive growth in academic studies of risk and the rapid development of a risk industry (Gabe, 1995). In many respects risk has become a new lens through which to view the world. This can be seen in business, government and also in academic studies where conversations about risk grow ever popular. Regulation is no exception and during the 1980s/ 1990s regulatory discussions in a number of countries incorporated an imperative to adopt risk-based strategies and tools, in some cases heightened by the state's co-option of corporate risk management systems (Hutter, 2001; Power, 1999). This discussion paper will draw on the British experience as its main exemplar but in the expectation that this case can provide insights which help us to understand and explain the emergence or absence of risk-based ideas elsewhere. We will focus on some prominent examples of risk-based regulation, and critically examine why risk approaches, tools and language appear to have gained currency and the related issue of their merits and limitations.

Is the Market Classification of Risk Always Efficient? Evidence from German Third Party Motor Insurance

DP 32 - Reimund Schwarze and Thomas Wein - February 2005 - ISBN 0 7530 1859 4 - Full Paper


The efficiency of market-determined risk classification in automobile insurance is a lasting matter of controversy. It can be traced back to the 1950s (Muir, 1957) and received broad economic attention in the 1980s when spiralling car insurance premiums in the US were blamed on tariff regulations prohibiting the use of sex, age and location as risk characteristics (Blackmon/ Zeckhauser 1991, Cummins/ Tennyson 1992, Harrington/ Doerpinghaus 1993). In a mirroring move the EU saw a heated political and legal debate on the use of special tariffs for foreigners, in the 1980s, which resulted in a legal ban of 'discriminatory' tariffs for mandatory insurance schemes in many European countries . The latest blow against risk classification in car insurance comes with the EU Employment and Social Affairs' draft directive on gender equality which proposes to prohibit gender specific calculation of all private insurance products, including non-mandatory branches such as life, private health or comprehensive car insurance...

Modernisation, Partnerships and the Management of Risk

DP 31 - Liisa Kurunmäki and Peter Miller - November 2004 - ISBN 1 7530 1798 9 - Full Paper


The terms 'modernisation' and 'partnership' are fundamental to an ongoing transformation of the contemporary political lexicon in Britain. A new regulatory programme (Rose and Miller, 1992) is emerging in which the incitation to innovate and co-operate takes centre stage, supplanting the harsh language of markets and competition that characterised politics and public policy in the 1980s and 1990s. Inter-professional co-operation, and the possibility of creating hybrid entities (Kurunmäki, 2004), is central to this new model of regulation. Partnership working, as specified in the Health Act 1999, is one of the principal mechanisms through which this has been promoted. Instead of coercion by the state or the untrammelled workings of the market, an injunction to cooperate is placed upon professionals and experts of varying kinds. The 'modernising government' programme, originally outlined in the White Paper Modern Public Services for Britain: Investing in Reform (Cm 4011, 1998), and later presented in more detail in the Modernising Government White Paper (Cm 4310, 1999), exemplifies this transformation. This programme holds out the promise of improving public services by promoting innovative joined-up working between agencies and experts that provide complementary services to citizens...

Regulatory Experiments: Putting GM Crops and Financial Markets on Trial

DP 30 - Javier Lezaun and Yuval Millo - February 2005 - ISBN 0 7530 1797 0 - Full Paper


Sometimes regulators become experimenters: they try ideas out before implementing them, put novel schemes to the test in order to predict their likely impact, or conduct pilot programmes before executing new policies. Regulators find experiments very expedient, as they allow them to forecast the probable consequences of their actions before making irreversible decisions. In some areas of policy-making experimentation is becoming a normal phase of regulatory practice1. Regulatory experiments are, however, a peculiar type of governmental action, with particular epistemological and political dimensions. Through them regulators try to produce new knowledge about the world, but also to test the resilience of new regulatory instruments, and to persuade broad audiences of the effectiveness of their plans. How can we begin to analyse this form of regulatory intervention?...

9 From Risks to Second-order Dangers in Financial Markets: Unintended consequences of risk management systems

DP 29 - Boris Holzer and Yuval Millo - November 2004 - ISBN 0 7530 1796 2 - Full Paper


The notion of risk is central to modern society, both as a productive and as a troublesome concept. On the one hand, risk refers to a situation of opportunity. Only those who undertake a risk, bear the uncertainties and face the potential adverse consequences, may gain the rewards. On the other hand, risk refers to fundamental uncertainty: at the time of risk-taking one cannot know for sure whether the opportunity concerned will be realised; in the worst case, the costs incurred might be greater than any benefit. Risk therefore increases the scope for both rational and seemingly irrational decisions: without the willingness to undertake a risk some opportunities may never be realised; the costs of an unsuccessful risky decision, however, may be intolerably high and may thus disqualify the whole enterprise in hindsight...

Decentralisation of Economic Law - An Oxymoron

DP 28 - Myriam Senn - March 2005 - ISBN 0 7530 1795 4 - Full Paper


The interest in decentralising governance is increasing worldwide. In Europe too, a policy of decentralisation is being applied. In economic law, notably in both the cases of EC competition and financial services law, new rules are in the process of being introduced. In competition law, the regulation on the implementation of the rules on competition has lead to a decentralised model of law enforcement. In financial services law, the directive on markets in financial instruments has proposed the introduction of a four-level rule-making model, which may represent a participative, decentralised approach, but has resulted in a centralisation of that process, while the enforcement remains decentralised. This essay provides a brief overview of these models of regulation. Then, it examines these regulatory structures and focuses on the question of the impact of the decentralisation process in the context of decentred understandings of regulation. It points to the paradox of law being decentralised where it is a centralised function and thus represents an oxymoron. The paper argues that decentralisation results in an oxymoron depending on the function of law considered. The overall purpose of the paper is to contribute to a better understanding of governance through decentralisation.

Digital Technologies and the Duality of Risk

DP 27 - Claudio Ciborra - October 2004 - ISBN 0 7530 1794 6 - Full Paper


The aim of this essay is to study the multiple links between risk and digital technologies such as information and communication technology (ICT). It sets the ground for the empirical analysis of risks connected to the design and deployment of ICT infrastructures in a variety of settings: corporate, public organisations and government...

Business Regulation: Reviewing the regulatory potential of civil society organisations

DP 26 - Bridget M Hutter, Joan O'Mahony - September 2004 - ISBN 0 7530 1799 7 - Full Paper


Definitions and conceptions of regulation have changed over the past fifty years. Conceptual boundaries have expanded, moving from technical and narrowly defined meanings that refer specifically to state intervention in the economy, to broader definitions of regulation that encompass non-governmental forms of regulation and also supranational regulation. Traditional notions of government regulation have been supplanted by the notion of 'layered webs of regulatory influence' (Grabosky, 1995:528- 9): a move that has been captured in the shift in language from government to governance. An important part of this shift from government based regulation to broader regulatory governance is the attempt to establish dialogues with civil society organisations (CSOs). Increasingly, these organisations are being incorporated into regulatory decision-making processes often very directly and formally, in an attempt to democratise participation in regulatory decisions. The growing recognition of CSOs makes this an opportune moment to consider what is currently known about the position of civil society organisations in the regulatory sphere. This paper gives a broad overview of the role and potential of CSOs in regulating business. The key issues are established through a consideration of diverse and disparate literatures which span a number of disciplines. We argue that while CSOs have the potential for significant influence over business and government regulatory agendas, there are some serious issues which may limit their regulatory prospects.

Learning and interest accommodation in policy and institutional change: EC risk regulation in the pharmaceuticals sector

DP 25 - Jürgen Feick - January 2005 - ISBN 0 7530 1746 6 - Full Paper


The purpose of this paper is to formulate hypotheses about the emergence of marketingapproval regulation for human-use pharmaceuticals in the European Community since the beginning of the 1960s. Focusing on the developmental and institutional logic of the regulatory structures at different points in time, it highlights the way in which policy learning and actor interests have shaped the resulting regulatory policies and the way in which a variety of interests have been accommodated in the institutionalised procedures. At the same time, this analysis sheds light on the asymmetric distribution of influence especially in the implementation process...


The Battle for Hearts and Minds? Evolutions in organisational approaches to environmental risk communication

DP 24 - Andy Gouldson, Rolf Lidskog and Misse Wester-Herber - September 2004 - ISBN 0 7530 1745 8 - Full Paper


In recent years there has been a great deal of discussion on the potential for a shift away from modernistic or technocratic approaches to decision-making on risk towards more open, inclusive and deliberative approaches. This paper adopts an approach which analyses not the social but the private costs and benefits of such a transition, and the influence that various institutional factors such as the presence of trust amongst stakeholders can have on these. With these factors in mind, the paper considers the reasons why some organisations have taken the first step in this transition by exploring the potential of what the paper terms more communicative approaches to environmental risk management. It then goes on to evaluate the early experiences with such approaches. The analysis finds that at the organisational level the pros and cons of opening up and engaging are quite finely balanced. For the organisations surveyed, the nature of their activities, the significance of formative events and the failure of more traditional forms of risk communication impelled them to experiment with new approaches to risk communication. Such experiments had mixed effects - in some contexts they enhanced the legitimacy of the organisations and built trust amongst stakeholders, whilst in others they did the opposite. The paper concludes by suggesting that in the long run a broader opening up of decision-making processes may result in what might be termed a reverse Phyrric victory: in some cases battles will be lost, but in the long run the war will be won.

Creation of a Market Network: The regulatory approval of Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE)

DP 23 - Yuval Millo - September 2004 - ISBN 0 7530 1744 X - Full Paper


The paper analyses the historical events that surrounded the evolution of the world's first exchange for financial options - Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) - one of today's most successful derivative exchanges. The detailed narrative is focused on the relations between the American securities regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the developing options exchanges. The analysis shows how the regulatory values of the SEC, framed by the political and social circumstances of the time (1968-1973), underwent a dramatic transformation. This transformation was accompanied by the formation of a dense network of connections between the regulator and other market participants, as a result of which the proposal to set up an options exchange turned from a threat to the realisation of the SEC's goals to an important regulatory asset.

Corporate-NGO Partnerships as a Form of Civil Regulation: Lessons from the Energy Biodiversity Initiative

DP 22 - Stephen Tully - June 2004 - ISBN 0 7530 1771 7 - Full Paper


This paper will assess the prospects of so-called 'civil' regulation, or the ability of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to regulate commercial behaviour within the institutional setting of a partnership. The selected case study involves an initiative between five conservation NGOs and five energy firms seeking to integrate biodiversity considerations into upstream oil and gas development projects within, or adjacent to, environmentally-sensitive or protected areas. Part one describes the concept of 'civil' regulation, identifies its principal characteristics and considers the potential for partnerships between corporations and NGOs. Part two provides an overview of the Energy and Biodiversity Initiative in the context of dialogue between the business and NGO communities with respect to the commercial role for conserving biodiversity. Finally, part three identifies consequential lessons for collaborative arrangements between NGOs and corporations, assesses the prospects for partnerships as a regulatory device and identifies the prerequisites for effectively controlling corporate behaviour through this mechanism.

Access to Justice Within the Sustainable Self-Governance Model

DP 21 - Stephen Tully - June 2004 - ISBN 0 7530 1743 1 - Full Paper


Little attention has been given to the development and operation of non-state models of global governance and the extent to which they conform to principles of good governance. Focusing primarily on issues of access to justice and secondarily on the independence of such bodies from the industries which they purport to regulate, this paper argues that adjudicative mechanisms established by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and firms may not produce outcomes which are considered 'just' by them. Part one locates dispute resolution as a narrower aspect of participation in decision-making, identifies several deficiencies of the state-centric model in the provision of justice and outlines collaborative NGO-corporate arrangements. Part two provides an account of one NGO-corporate arrangement, portrays its principal function and governance structure and identifies the relevant procedural aspects for initiating its private adjudicative arm. The case study considered in part three involves recourse by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society to the objections procedure of the Marine Stewardship Council with a view to challenging the certification of the New Zealand hoki fishery as well-managed and sustainable. Finally, it is argued in part four that the lack of independence and limited remedies available to such arrangements does not merely fail to realise justice but has wider ramifications for the continued governance of corporate-NGO arrangements.

Justifying Non-Compliance. A Case Study of a Norwegian Biotech Firm

DP 20 - Filippa Corneliussen - May 2004 - ISBN 0 7530 1770 9 - Full Paper


This paper draws on an incident of non-compliance in a Norwegian biotech firm to explore the justification behind regulatory infringement in a small, high-tech organisation. A number of interpretations are possible: the firm may lack attention, ability or knowledge to comply; it may have violated the regulations on the basis of principled disagreement, or on the basis of an interpretation of adequate compliance; the non-compliance may have resulted from a rational calculation of risks and opportunities. Rather than supporting one particular interpretation, the case study highlights the very complex, messy and 'un-boxable' nature of firm behaviour.

The Impact of Regulations on Firms. A Study of the Biotech Industry

DP 19 - Filippa Corneliussen - May 2004 - ISBN 0 7530 1742 3


This paper investigates how the rapidly expanding biotech industry is regulated, and how these regulations impact on firms in practice. More specifically, it considers how much is known and understood about the regulations and their provisions, and about the regulatory apparatus in place for their implementation. Drawing on semi-structured interviews carried out with founders, managers and senior scientists in start-up biotech firms, the paper illustrates that the socio-legal literature's characterisation of small firms as less compliance orientated is too neat. Small firms do not necessarily have a limited knowledge and comprehension of the law. Nor do they necessarily have low levels of motivation to improve and maintain health and safety standards. In fact, the opposite may be true. Small firms may approach the regulatory ideal where the routines, procedures and precautionary measures prescribed by regulations permeate the organisations.

Reforming the UK Flood Insurance Regime. The Breakdown of a Gentlemen's Agreement

DP 18 - Michael Huber - January 2004 - ISBN 0 7530 1655 9 - Full Paper


The floods of summer 2002 in Central Europe and China, recurrent earthquakes in Turkey and Japan and frequent hurricanes in the USA and Central America challenge the economic fundaments of the societies exposed; unexpected effects through economic, financial and political "channels" make intelligent risk management mandatory. One important element of an intelligent risk management strategy is an insurance system that is able to adapt to new situations triggered by eg, climate change.

Mapping the Contours of Contemporary Financial Services Regulation

DP 17 - Julia Black - October 2003 - ISBN 0 7530 1653 2 - Full Paper


The article draws on decentred analyses of regulation, which emphasise the fragmentation and hybridisation of regulatory systems, to analyse contemporary financial services regulation, principally in the UK. The analysis focuses on actors, their regulatory capacities, the regulatory functions which they do or could perform, their interrelationships, and the ways in which they are or could be enrolled within the regulatory system. The article contrasts such an analysis with the more familiar 'toolkit' analysis, and argues that the enrolment analysis provides a mapping device which facilitates a more nuanced analysis of the nature of regulatory hybridity and fragmentation, and facilitates debates on the development of the regulatory system. It also provides a critical frame in which to assess the likely effectiveness, the adherence to normative values, and the accountability of the regulatory system as a whole.

The Invention of Operational Risk

DP 16 - Michael Power - June 2003 - ISBN 0 7530 1652 4 - Full Paper


Until the 'Basel 2' reforms to banking supervision, operational risk was largely a residual category for risks and uncertainties which were difficult to quantify, insure and manage in traditional ways. This paper examines the rapid emergence of operational risk from this low epistemic status to its institutionalisation as a key component of global banking regulation. However, the meaning and implications of the Basel proposals have been fiercely contested by international banks and three key domains of policy controversy have been, and remain, particularly visible: definitional issues, data collection and the limits of quantification. Tensions in these three areas are discussed and reveal the significance of operational risk as a meeting point for diverse concerns and interests, and as a potential reinvention of a management knowledge hybrid between auditing and finance. The paper draws attention to the ironies and contradictions of this operational risk programme, which is part of a visionary project to extend 'enforced self-regulation' deep into the operations of banking, combining advanced technical modelling ideas on the one hand and softer corporate governance thinking on the other. The Basel 2 proposals also demonstrate the policy effectiveness of 'operational risk' as an agenda-forming category, whose success lies as much in the catalytic visibility of the issue, as in the in the details of implementation.

Precautionary Bans or Sacrificial Lambs? Participative Risk Regulation and the Reform of the UK Food Safety Regime

DP 15 - Henry Rothstein - June 2003 - ISBN 0 7530 1651 6 - Full Paper


This paper explores contemporary trends towards participative risk regulation and considers the impacts of participative reform on policy processes and outcomes. Using the example of reform of the UK food safety regime, the paper examines whether participative reforms, in the form of stakeholder decision-making, are able to deliver their promised benefits and if not, why not. Empirically, the paper examines how UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) used a stakeholder decision-making process to manage the potential risks from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in sheep in 2002, and the initial rejection of those proposals by the European Commission. The paper finds that the potential benefits of the stakeholder process were mitigated by a number of institutional factors, including: considerable interpretative flexibility in how to represent consumer interests and the concept of precaution; restricted openness and exclusion of key stakeholders; and the impact of the supra-national regulatory context. The paper concludes that broadening participation per se does not necessarily produce more democratic or robust policy outcomes than closed processes, although it may have some limited value in improving public confidence in the regulatory regime.

Incentives, Choice and Accountability in the Provision of Public Services

DP 14 - Timothy Besley and Maitreesh Ghatak - June 2003 - ISBN 0 7530 1650 8 - Full Paper


This paper discusses a theoretical framework to study the issues of competition and incentives without relying on the standard profit-orientated "market" model in the context of the debates about public service reform in the UK. It uses the idea that the production of public services coheres around a mission, and discusses how decentralised service provision can raise productivity by matching motivated workers to their preferred missions. Our focus on competition and incentives cuts across traditional debates about public versus private ownership and allows for the possibility of involving private non-profits. We also address concerns about the consequences of allowing more flexibility in mission design and competition on inequality.

Regulating Parliament: The regulatory state within Westminster

DP 13 - Robert Kaye - June 2003 - ISBN 0 7530 1622 2 - Full Paper


The rise of the 'regulatory state' (Majone, 1994; Loughlin and Scott, 1997; Moran, 2001) has not been limited to regulation of the privatised sector, or even of the private sector more generally. There is now a considerable 'regulatory state within the state' (Hood et al, 1999), and it seems to be growing. The literature on regulation of government has so far concentrated on the bureaucracy. At times, however, the regulatory environment that applies to government (as documented by Hood et al) can extend to political decisions. Ombudsmen, including the Local Government Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner, have not shied away from criticising decisions taken by political actors where these amount to maladministration.

Business History and Risk Workshop Papers

DP 12 - December 2003 - ISBN 0 7530 1621 4 - Full Paper

Business History and Risk - Terry Gourvish

Comparative and Historical Perspectives on Business Risk and Antitrust in 20th Century America, Japan, Europe and Australia - Tony Freyer

The Risks of Working and the Risks of Not Working: trade unions, employers and responses to the risk of occupational illness in British industry, c.1890-1940s - Joseph Melling


CARR, in association with the Centre for Business History, University of Leeds, held a successful workshop on 'Business History and Risk' on 20 February 2002. The workshop, which was sponsored by the ESRC, brought together business historians, economists, accountants and risk analysts to develop an interdisciplinary discussion on understandings of risk by employers, workers and governments in different historical settings...


The Open Method of Co-ordination and the European Welfare State

DP 11 - Damian Chalmers and Martin Lodge - June 2003 - ISBN 0 7530 1620 6 - Full Paper


Open Method Co-ordination (OMC) has been treated in the literature as the Lazarus of European integration. Developed at the Lisbon Summit, it has led to the reincarnation of the European Union, both in terms of what it does and how it does it. No longer is the European Union to be centred around the Classic Community Method (CCM) of supranational management of regulation. Instead, it is to be a decentred participatory process, in which national governments are no longer controlled and commanded by the imperatives of EC law, but rather commit themselves to review each other's programmes in the light of a series of mutually agreed standards and of domestic and trans-national participatory processes. The European Council and its surrounding machinery is placed at the heart of the Union's policy process, and new types of Union-Member State relations are forged which are centred less around classical legal prescriptions, and more around diffuse national adaptation to a wide array of transnational norms, whose form and origin varies (for initial review, see Hodson and Maher 2001)...

Drivers and Drawbacks: Regulation and environmental risk management systems

DP 10 - Marius Aalders - December 2002 - ISBN 0 7530 1613 3 - Full Paper


In the literature on environmental risk management in firms, it is often proposed that environmental performance and innovation are driven primarily by external forces, such as regulatory or market pressures. But gradually, organisational forces in business itself are also suggested as drivers for the improvement of environmental performance (Andrews et al, 2001). Many companies have adopted systems approaches in their corporate strategy. Organisational strategies include quality, health and safety, and environmental systems approaches. In systemising, management companies seek to improve the evaluation of organisational performance. One of these systematic approaches involves environmental management. Systems of internal company environmental management include elements such as an environmental policy statement, an environmental programme, the integration of environmental management in business operation, internal monitoring, information, training and environmental reporting and auditing (Aalders, 1993)...

Conceptualising Insurance: Risk management under conditions of solvency

DP 9 - Michael Huber - October 2002 - ISBN 0 7530 1609 5 - Full Paper


Risk management is most often called for when political conflicts about the handling of infrequent, high-impact events are at stake. Quite contrary to this tendency, in the financial sector, risk management focuses on frequently occurring events with relatively low monetary impacts. One of the critical institutions for this routine form of risk management is insurance. Although an important institution, insurance is, however, insufficiently researched and largely overlooked in the social sciences. It has even been considered, "a virtually unknown industry," (Meier, 1988: xv). In social science literature, insurance is not unknown as far as risk spreading, contracts, or risk assessment are concerned; they are analysed in great detail. It is a conceptual void that does not allow for systematically bringing together industrial processes, organisational and regulatory features and risk management. In other words, although many aspects of insurance are analysed from political, regulatory, decision-making and economic perspectives, these findings cannot be brought together to paint a comprehensive picture of insurance. Hence, for a better understanding of insurance and its specific forms of risk management, a comprehensive framework needs to be developed...

Social Licence and Environmental Protection: Why businesses go beyond compliance

DP 8 - Neil Gunningham, Robert Kagan and Dorothy Thornton - October 2002 -ISBN 0 7530 1608 7 - Full Paper


Traditionally, corporations which complied with the dictates of applicable legislation would have regarded not just their legal, but also their social obligations, as ending at that point. Socio-legal research suggests that corporations complied with law only for instrumental reasons (to avoid legal penalties) or, because "regulations are taken to be a measure of societal expectations, and [are] thus interpreted as a guide to an organisation's moral and social duties," (Wright, 1998: 14). From this traditional point of view, corporations could be expected to take actions which went 'beyond compliance' only where they saw some self-interest in doing so, such as increasing profit, usually over the short-term (Porter and Van der Linde, 1995)...

Neglected Risk Regulation: The institutional attenuation phenomenon

DP 7 - Henry Rothstein - October 2002 - ISBN 0 7530 1607 9 - Full Paper


This paper considers the institutional factors that shape regulatory officials' perceptions of risks to human health and safety and their attitudes towards associated regulation. In particular, the paper considers the extent to which the perceptions of risk and regulation of officials responsible for monitoring and enforcement are aligned with regulatory requirements, and, if not, what factors explain those perceptions. Moreover, the paper considers the impact of officials' perceptions and attitudes on policy processes and outcomes. Empirically, the paper considers three UK risk regulation regimes: occupational exposure to radon, chemical migration from plastics food packaging, and BSE-related controls on specified bovine offal. Analysis of those cases suggests that conventional accounts that contrast 'rational' bureaucratic expertise against 'irrational' lay perspectives can miss the institutional 'irrationalities' that shape officials' perceptions of risk and associated behaviour. In particular, the paper suggests that complex risk regulation regimes are vulnerable to a phenomenon of 'institutional attenuation'. That term refers to institutional processes that serve to diminish inspectors' perceptions or awareness of a risk, and/or diminish inspectors' perceptions of the policy importance of associated regulations. Furthermore, the paper shows how such institutional attenuation can contribute to ineffective monitoring and enforcement of some risk regulation regimes.

Mass Media and Political Accountability

DP 6 - Tim Besley, Robin Burgess and Andrea Pratt - October 2002 - ISBN 0 7530 1606 0 - Full Paper


Mass media can play a key role in enabling citizens to monitor the actions of incumbents and to use this information in their voting decisions. This can lead to government which is more accountable and responsive to its citizens' needs. In spite of the intuitive plausibility of the proposition, there is comparatively little work in political economy literature that scrutinises the role and effectiveness of the media in fulfilling this function. A literature, however, is emerging which focuses attention on the importance of the so-called 'fourth estate of government' in the policy process. A key feature of the approach taken here is to focus on incentives the media have to produce and disseminate information...

Embedding Regulatory Autonomy: The reform of Jamaican telecommunications regulation 1988-2001

DP 5 - Lindsay Stirton and Martin Lodge - February 2002 - ISBN 0 7530 1931 0 - Full Paper


Globalisation is said to have diminished the capacity of states to regulate their economies. However, while a body of doctrine has developed concerning the need for capable, independent regulation, there is relative paucity of theoretical discussion concerning the nature of state regulatory capacity, or how this can be enhanced (or is diminished). Existing accounts focus mainly on ability to manage technical complexity and the design of regulatory institutions. This paper seeks to extend the discussion using the idea of the 'embeddedness' of political and economic institutions developed by Mark Granovetter, Peter Evans and others. The challenges encountered in embedding a regulatory regime are illustrated by a detailed case study of telecommunications reform in Jamaica which, it is somewhat tentatively argued, represents a successful attempt to bring about embedded regulatory autonomy. The case study illustrates that, while aspects of globalisation challenge national autonomy in regulating rapidly globalising sectors such as telecommunications, other globalisation effects may facilitate increased embedded autonomy within national regulatory regimes.

Critical Reflections on Regulation

DP 4 - Julia Black - January 2002 - ISBN 0 7530 1928 0 - Full Paper


Increasingly, regulation is being seen as 'decentred' from the state, and even from the well recognised forums of self-regulation. A decentred analysis has several strands, and seeing the nature and problems of regulation from a decentred perspective can be very stimulating. It opens up the cognitive frame of what 'regulation' is, enabling commentators to spot regulation in previously unsuspected places. It can prompt policy thinkers in academia and government to consider a wide range of different configurations of state, market, community, associations and networks to deliver public policy goals. But a decentred understanding of regulation also raises quite fundamental questions of the nature and understanding of regulation, the consequent role of the state, and our understanding of law. It means we can no longer escape the need to address the question of just what it is that is being 'decentred', of what it is that we want the concept of 'regulation' to do, and what some of the implications of that decision might be. The answers to these questions are at best contested and at worse simply incoherent. It is a debate which is sorely needed, however, and which it is the aim of the paper to promote.

The New Politics of Risk Regulation in Europe

DP 3 - David Vogel - August 2001 - ISBN 0 7530 1546 3 - Full Paper


This paper examines recent changes in the politics of risk regulation in Europe and compares them to developments in the United States. From the 1960s through the mid 1980s, the regulation of health, safety and environmental risks was generally stricter in the United States than in Europe. Since the mid 1980s, the obverse has often been the case: a wide array of European consumer and environmental regulations are now more restrictive than in the United States. In a number of important respects, European regulatory politics and policies over the last fifteen years resemble those of the United States between the late 1960s and the mid 1980s. They tend to be politicised, highly contentious and characterised by a suspicion of science and a mistrust of both government and industry...

The EU Commission and National Governments as Partners: EC regulatory expansion in telecommunications 1979-2000

DP 2 - Mark Thatcher - February 2001 - ISBN 0 7530 1461 0 - Full Paper


Explicitly or implicitly, general models of European integration claim that EC regulatory expansion involves a struggle for power between Commission and national governments. The Commission is seen as a policy entrepreneur, taking the initiative to drive forward integration (Sandholtz and Zysman 1989). It seeks regulatory expansion due to constraints on its expenditure (Majone 1996, ch4). Neo-functionalists emphasise the Commission's ability to expand its role against the wishes of governments, thanks to the support of transnational groups and the European Court of Justice (Sandholtz and Stone Sweet 1998; Stone-Sweet and Burrell 1998). Intergovernmentalists differ in their conclusions about the distribution of power (arguing that the Commission is generally unable to impose its preferences on member states), rather than the assumption that Commission and national governments are in conflictual competition with each other for power (Moravcsik 1998, 1999)...

Regulating Government in a 'Managerial' Age: Towards a cross-national perspective

DP 1 - Christopher Hood and Colin Scott - October 2000 - ISBN 0 7530 1430 0 - Full Paper


At a time when some commentators are writing about the 'regulatory state' (Sunstein 1990 ; Majone 1994; Loughlin and Scott 1997)) and others about the 'New Public Management State' (like Wettenhall 2000 forthcoming), the link between these two putative 'states' - the regulation of government - deserves to be explored. Accordingly, this paper discusses the accountability of modern executive government from a 'regulation' perspective. It aims to set the scene for a cross-national analysis of different styles of control and accountability in government from such a perspective. Such cross-national analysis is needed to bring out patterns of variety and change in the way regulation of government works in a small number of developed countries. It is needed to put the 'audit society' model highlighted by Power (1997) in comparative perspective and to focus on alternative ways of regulating government...

CARR Launch Paper

CARR Launch Paper - October 2000 - ISBN 0 7530 1429 7

Is Regulation Right? - Robert Baldwin


Most of us think it proper to study regulation but it is harder to say how regulation can be carried out properly. Regulators, indeed, seem to be on a hiding to nothing - they are routinely savaged in the press, they are seldom informed that they have got it right and hardly ever told what a balanced or successful regime of regulation would like. It is accordingly worth pausing to consider why regulators have such a rough ride, whether they can ever get it right, what sort of future they can look forward to...

Business Risk Management in Government: Pitfalls and Possibilities - Christopher Hood and Henry Rothstein


Business risk management, taking a variety of forms, has been a growth point in corporate management in recent years. That change in emphasis is said to stem from responses to high-profile disasters like Bhopal and Exxon Valdez, increasing legal and regulatory pressure on risk management and a search for new approaches to formulating corporate strategy...

Risk Management and Business Regulation - Bridget Hutter and Michael Power

(This article was first published in the Financial Times Mastering Risk series, 2000 under the title of 'Power and Influence in Risk Regulation').


The regulation of business and corporate risk management are inextricably related. Regulation is one way in which risks are managed in modern societies and corporate risk management is a form of self-regulation, although senior management would not articulate it in such terms. In practice, the distinction between regulation and risk management is becoming blurred as risk management blueprints influence the design of regulatory systems. This is particularly evident in the latest thinking of the UK Financial Services Authority, which is required to maintain market confidence and protect consumers. The FSA's new operating framework builds on its earlier risk based approaches to regulation and recognises that the nature and intensity of its relationship with a regulated firm will depend on the risk assessment of that firm. Accordingly, there is a pronounced convergence in form between the FSA's approach to regulation and the risk management practice of the very entities that it regulates. This trend is also visible in other areas...