Law and Politics of Regulation

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Gordon Baldwin NAB 7.08, Prof Julia Black NAB 7.09, Prof Martin Lodge CON 3.08 and Dr Eva Heims


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

This course is capped at one group. The deadline for receipt of applications will likely be between Friday 25 September and Friday 9 October 2015, depending on the course. The exact deadline for applications will be confirmed at your programme induction.

Course content

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


22 hours of seminars and 8 hours of seminars in the MT. 22 hours of seminars and 10 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

The course is taught: (a) by 22, two-hour sessions in variable format (some lecture-discussions, student-paper led discussions, debates, preparation for the dissertation) comprising the academic core, (b) by eight seminars on 'economics of regulation' and 'research design' in the Michaelmas term and (c) a number of practitioner seminars in the Lent term, drawing on practitioners from a variety of regulated sectors.

There will be reading weeks in week 6 of both the Michaelmas and Lent terms for structured learning activities.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce three written essays.

Indicative reading

R Baldwin, M Cave and M Lodge Understanding Regulation (2012); M Moran, The British Regulatory State (2003); A Ogus, Regulation (2004); R Baldwin & C McCrudden, Regulation and Public Law (1987); C Hood, H Rothstein & R Baldwin, The Government of Risk (2001); R Baldwin, Rules and Government (1994); J Black, M Lodge and M Thatcher, Regulatory Innovation, (2005), C Sunstein, Risk and Reason (2002), R. Baldwin, M. Cave and M.Lodge Oxford Handbook of Regulation (2010), M Lodge and K Wegrich, Managing Regulation (2012), D. Carpenter and D. Moss, Preventing Regulatory Capture (2013).


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

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 5.9
Merit 67.6
Pass 22.1
Fail 4.4

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2014/15: 30

Average class size 2014/15: 28

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 90.7%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)