The Paradox of Regulation


The Paradox of Regulation

What Regulation Can Achieve and What it Cannot

9780857932945 Edward Elgar Publishing
Fiona Haines, Associate Professor, University of Melbourne and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Australian National University
Publication Date: 2012 ISBN: 978 0 85793 294 5 Extent: 288 pp
This up-to-date book takes a fresh look at regulation and risk and argues that the allure of regulation lies in its capacity to reduce risk whilst preserving the benefits of trade, travel and commerce.

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This up-to-date book takes a fresh look at regulation and risk and argues that the allure of regulation lies in its capacity to reduce risk whilst preserving the benefits of trade, travel and commerce.

Regulation appears as a politically attractive, targeted and effective way to ensure that disasters of the past are not repeated. Diverse challenges are tackled through regulatory means – including the industrial, financial and terrorist-related hazards analysed in this book. Fiona Haines’ empirical work shows, however, that regulation attempts to reduce risks beyond their stated remit of preventing future disaster. Her analysis reveals a complex nexus between risk and regulation where fulfilment of regulatory potential depends on managing three fundamentally different types of risk: actuarial, socio-cultural and political. This complex risk management task affects both reform and compliance efforts, generating tension and paradoxical outcomes. Nonetheless, Haines argues, enhancing political legitimacy and public reassurance are central, not peripheral, to successful regulation.

This insightful book will appeal to academics, researchers and postgraduate researchers working in regulation across law, politics, sociology, criminology and public management. Masters of public management, MBA students, public administrators and regulators, as well as political commentators, will also find this book invaluable.
Critical Acclaim
‘I found The Paradox of Regulation to be well conceived, well researched, and well written. It was detailed, ambitious and insightful. It tackled the theoretical and the practical and remained wholly accessible throughout. The author grounded her claims and findings in concrete case studies which, though Australian, were generalisable. This book would, I think, be of interest to law and policy scholars generally, thus embracing a cross-disciplinary cadre of humanities researchers, as well as regulators and policy makers, who would benefit from the better understanding of their task that this book offers.’
– Shawn H.E. Harmon, Social & Legal Studies

‘The Paradox of Regulation is a tour de force of regulatory scholarship that successfully contextualizes the regulatory project as an effort to reduce multiple forms of risk. Three case studies of regulatory reforms, fascinating in their own right, when read together forcefully demonstrate why context matters to the actuarial assessments, political realities, and possibilities for insuring safety, security and integrity. Haines’ penetrating analysis presents no simple answers to what works and why. The Paradox of Regulation nimbly demonstrates that the strengths and limits of a particular regulatory reform must be understood as a complicated response to a dynamic constellation of actuarial, political, and socio-cultural risks.’
– Nancy Reichman, University of Denver, US

‘This new book by Fiona Haines is an elegant but sophisticated analysis of the three risks (technical, social and political) that regulation must address if it is to be effective. This analysis is original and fresh bringing together critiques of risk based regulation with empirical literature on compliance and effectiveness evaluation. This is exactly the sort of book we need more of to develop and deepen empirical and theoretical research in regulatory scholarship: – it helpfully melds together different literatures and theoretical approaches with her own empirical work on regulatory reforms to build a multi-layered theoretical analysis that really pushes forward our understanding of regulation, why it happens and how it fails and succeeds.’
– Christine Parker, Monash University, Australia

‘This is an insightful and nuanced analysis of the strengths and limitations of regulation. Through a close grained analysis of three recent disasters, Haines demonstrates that regulation is not just a technical but also a political and a social project and how a failure to recognise its multiple dimensions can lead to regulatory failure. This book is a major contribution that enriches our understanding of the challenges of risk management and of how best to address them.’
– Neil Gunningham, Australian National University, Canberra

‘Fiona Haines shows us that regulatory policy is complex and paradoxical in ways that should require us to attend to the substance and the politics of specific regulatory regimes. This book is a major contribution to the reconceptualisation of risk and regulation. It is a perceptive treatment of the role of crisis by one of the best scholars of regulation we have.’
– John Braithwaite, Australian National University, Canberra
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. The Regulatory Paradox 3. Risk and the Task of Regulation 4. Making Sense of the Events 5. Regulatory Reform in the Shadow of Disaster 6. The Challenge of Compliance – Major Hazard Risk 7. The Challenge of Security at Air and Seaports 8. Finance, Compliance and the Ambiguity of Actuarial Risk 9. Conclusion Bibliography Index
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