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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the main features of the regulatory state and considers some of the explanations that seek to account for its emergence. It begins by exploring the core characteristics that are claimed to define the regulatory state, focusing on changes in institutional form, functional mission, and policy instruments employed by the state to guide and stimulate economic and social activity. Secondly, it considers some of the explanations that have been offered to explain its emergence. Thirdly, it explores the paths of regulatory development in two other locations that are frequently labelled as regulatory states — the USA and the UK. Accordingly, the fourth section of this article touches upon various attempts to reconcile the apparent tension between the image of regulation as a technocratic, apolitical process in pursuit of economic efficiency, and recognition that regulatory decisions invariably have political dimensions, and therefore require democratic legitimation.

Keywords: regulatory state, institutional form, functional mission, policy instruments, economic efficiency

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