Fundamentals of Regulatory Design

fundamentals of regulatory design

Publisher's Description:

The modern regulatory world is crowded with ideas about different regulatory approaches including, among others: performance-based regulation, self-regulation, light-touch regulation, right-touch regulation, safety management systems, 3rd party regulation, co-regulation, prescriptive regulation, risk-based regulation, a harm-reduction approach, problem-solving, and responsive regulation.

Are these various terms merely rhetorical, or aspirational? Do they signal the political preferences of the times? Which of them actually affect operations?

Professional regulators—along with everyone else in the risk-control business—face a complex array of choices when they design (or redesign) their strategies and structures, programs, work-flows, relationships, and day-to-day operations. What regulators choose to do, and how they choose to do it, greatly affects their effectiveness, as well as the quality of life in a democracy.

This book tackles five major design issues that affect all regulators (and can be applied by anyone else in the risk-control business). It demystifies the various labels and vogue prescriptions for regulatory conduct, clarifies the options, and generates a range of distinct ideas about what it might mean to be a "risk-based regulator."

Audience:  This book is designed primarily for regulatory practitioners, but will be relevant for other professionals whose roles include risk-management and harm-reduction. In the public sector, this includes law-enforcement and public-safety organizations, as well as security and intelligence agencies. In the private sector it includes compliance managers, safety officers and risk-managers. In the not-for-profit sector this includes any organization that takes on, or contributes to, harm-reduction missions.

Author: Professor Malcolm K. Sparrow, of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, has been working with senior officials in regulatory and enforcement agencies for over 30 years. Prior to joining Harvard's faculty in 1988, he served ten years with the British Police Service, rising to the rank of Detective Chief Inspector. He has authored eight other books, including The Regulatory Craft (Brookings, 2000) and The Character of Harms (Cambridge University Press, 2008). He chairs Harvard's Executive Program: "Strategic Management of Regulatory & Enforcement Agencies."

Contents:  This book is designed, in the context of a pandemic, to substitute for five core lectures/discussions that would normally be delivered face-to-face in executive-level courses and workshops. Professor Sparrow offers these lectures here in a comfortably accessible and conversational style.

Each chapter describes a different dimension of choice, inviting readers to assess their own organization's history and habits as a precursor to figuring out whether, looking forward, some adjustment is warranted or desirable.

Each chapter contains a collection of "Frequently Asked Questions" reflecting practitioners' common queries about the concepts presented, and ends with a "Diagnostic Exercise" (a set of probing questions) that readers can use, perhaps with colleagues in a book-group, to apply the analysis in their own setting.

Online Teaching:  Individual chapters can be assigned as “asynchronous study assignments” for courses on regulatory practice. Students, feeling “all screened out,” may appreciate the availability of the paperback edition.

Diagnostic Exercises:  The complete set of Diagnostic Exercises, covering all chapters, is available here for download as a word.docx file.

Webinars: Professor Sparrow described his book in an online webinar hosted by the Australian Regulators' Community of Practice (RCoP), first broadcast live on 27th October 2020.  An edited version is available through the RCoP YouTube channel.

Professor Sparrow made a similar presentation for the HKS Center for Business & Government's Regulatory Policy Program, on 17th September 2020, which is now available on the HKS RPP YouTube channel.

Purchase: Fundamentals of Regulatory Design (2020)

United States Paperback & Kindle
Australia Paperback & Kindle
Brazil Kindle only
Canada Paperback & Kindle
France Paperback & Kindle
Germany Paperback & Kindle
India Kindle only
Italy Paperback & Kindle
Japan Paperback & Kindle
Mexico Kindle only
Netherlands Kindle only
Spain Paperback & Kindle
United Kingdom Paperback & Kindle

Preview: (frontmatter & first few pages): Sample

View high-resolution image of the book's Front Cover

Table of Contents:

Ch 1. Setting the Mission
Ch 2. Promoting Goods or Controlling Bads?
Ch 3. The Emergence of Regulatory Craftsmanship
Ch 4. Program-Centric & Problem-Centric Work
Ch 5. Alternative Regulatory Structures
Closing Remarks


26th September, 2020: "From the Regulatory Frontlines" (Blog).  Review by Professor Jeroen Van Der Heijden, Chair of Regulatory Practice, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.