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What is regulation? An interdisciplinary concept analysis

Koop, Christel and Lodge, Martin ORCID: 0000-0002-4273-6118 (2017) What is regulation? An interdisciplinary concept analysis. Regulation and Governance, 11 (1). pp. 95-108. ISSN 1748-5983

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Identification Number: 10.1111/rego.12094


The concept of regulation is believed to suffer from a lack of shared understanding. Yet, the maturation of the field raises the question whether this conclusion is still valid. By taking a new methodological approach towards this question of conceptual consolidation, this study assesses how regulation is conceived in the most-cited articles in six social science disciplines. Four main conclusions are drawn. First, there is a remarkable absence of explicit definitions. Second, the scope of the concept is vast, which requires us to talk about regulation in rather abstract terms. Third, scholars largely agree that ‘prototype regulation’ is characterised by interventions which are intentional and direct – involving binding standard-setting, monitoring and sanctioning – and exercised by public-sector actors on the economic activities of private-sector actors. Fourth, while there is considerable variation in research concerns, this variation cannot be attributed to disciplinary differences. Instead, our findings support the portrayal of the field as interdisciplinary, including a shared conception of regulation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Divisions: Government
Centre for Analysis of Risk & Regulation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 29 May 2015 10:03
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2024 04:36

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