The evolution of regulatory thought in the UK over the last two decades: How does this reflect regulatory and academic thinking more widely?
Over the last two decades, regulatory thought in the UK has not fitted the strict deregulatory and regulatory dichotomy and has taken a more mature approach that is apparent in the adoption of recommendations by the Better Regulation Task Force. Therefore, we can talk here about a certain evolution. However, certain path dependence elements have still been present. Regulation has not been free from populist initiatives that occurred before this period, especially in the area of enforcement, nor from overreliance on previously successful solutions. An interesting aspect of regulatory initiatives adopted over this period is that they are both of an ‘integrative’ and ‘diffusive’ in character. It is difficult to speculate which theme has dominated. There are certain specific characteristics of regulation in the UK that have been preserved, but in general, regulation has often been consistent with regulatory themes in other countries, but not with academic thought. This has particular dynamics. Interestingly enough, whereas in the area of the environment, the UK could be considered as a pioneer, in terms of initiatives taken by organisations to which the UK is a party, regulatory steps have been rather reactive and minimal in scope.
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