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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Regulation is a word that has gained a wide currency in discussions of public sector reform over the past thirty years or so. Many have claimed that increased formal regulation of public sector activity reflects deep-seated ‘modernist’ changes in the functioning of state machinery. This article scrutinises regulation within government. To put the modern use of the R-word (to signify oversight of government) into context, this article begins by pointing out the relatively modest incidence and growth of articles using this term in some of the leading international journals on executive government and law and society over the last decade. This article questions whether accounts, are still able to offer much leverage over the contemporary regulation of government by itself. It also suggests that past commentators may have been rather too optimistic about the ease with which government could regulate the private sector.

Keywords: regulation, public sector reform, public sector activity, accounts, private sector

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