Fantastic New Resource on Regulation

Peter Drahos and a roster of the minds that have made RegNet at the Australian National University the hub of regulatory research and theory have put (it seems) all they know into a new, FREE ebook, Regulatory Theory: Foundations and Applications.  It is a comprehensive account of the field, written to serve both as a reference for the essentials and a text book for classes in regulation and governance.  It even has a chapter on regulatory research methods in public health by this correspondent.

I am hoping to conduct a serial book review over the next couple of weeks. Here goes:

The first chapter is an introduction to the field by Drahos and Martin Krygier. It usefully orients the reader to the breadth of the field, a breadth that reflects the spread of regulatory activity beyond the state and across networks. Attention to those two phenomena, indeed, is properly presented as the foundation of the field.  There is a bit of intellectual history, highlighting the sigificance of Ayres and Braithwaite’s Responsive Regulation, and the emergence of RegNet as an intellectual gathering place. (I saw that first hand, and had a little experience of RegNet collegiality, when I spent a semester there and ended up writing an article on Nodal Governance with Drahos and Clifford Shearing — still my most downloaded paper.)

Drahos and Krygier’s chapter also highlights the important place of emotion in the field.  It is not just about responsive regulation, but also reintegrative shaming and resorative justice.  The assumption of rationality is still a mainstay of social science, but one sees in this section of the chapter an appreciation of where the work of Kahneman, Twersky and other psychologists must take us as we consider the role of emotion in compliance.

I’ll highlight other chapters down the road, and end for now by encouraging anyone in legal research or teaching to dip into this rich source of insights — and assign it to your students.

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