Apples and oranges: problems in the analysis of comparative regulatory governance.
Interest in regulation as a mode of governance is now a central feature of the literature on regulation in developed economies. Extending this area of study to developing and transitional economies gives rise to problems in comparative analysis which are explored in this paper. Four categories of problem are considered: the problem of contested concepts, arising in part from the intervention in the traditionally economic literature of disciplines such as law and political science; The problem of scope, which remains ambiguous because of the difficulty of separating out regulation from the normal range of state activities; The problem of comparisons, in which cross-sectoral or cross-national studies display familiar weaknesses; The problem of measurement, where quantitative studies too often rely on weak data and untested assumptions, and qualitative studies are rarely in evidence. The paper emphasises the crucial significance of legal, political and administrative structures in determining the design, implementation and outcomes of regulatory reforms, and brings into sharp focus the analytical problems set out above in relation to the application of this approach to regulation in developing countries, in particular in relation to the notion of 'independent' regulation.
Manchester, UK, CRC Working Paper, No. 94, 29 pp.