Department of Political Science


Law and Regulation

Course Code


Course Tutor

Dr Colin Provost (Department of Political Science).


One 3,000 word essay

Credit Value


About this course

In this course, we will be examining the political, economic, social and legal issues surrounding the enactment, implementation and enforcement of regulatory policy. We will begin by discussing various justifications for regulation, with particular focus on the market failure framework. We will then look at how regulatory authority is delegated and at various styles of regulatory enforcement, including command-and-control, the use of economic incentives, cooperation and voluntary enforcement. We will also look at the regulation of transnational business and at how international standards are negotiated. Finally, we will examine regulatory reforms, such as privatisation and regulatory impact analysis, in the developed and developing world.

Questions we will address in this class include:

  • How much influence do businesses have over the creation and implementation of regulations?
  • What is the thinking behind cap and trade programs like the E.U. Emissions Trading System? Do such programs work?
  • What effect does international trade have on domestic and international regulatory standards?
  • Why do some businesses join voluntary regulatory organisations? How effective are such organisations?
  • What role does regulation play in the privatisation of state-owned enterprises?
  • Why have we witnessed so many regulatory crises of late? What explains the occurrences of the Great Recession, the B.P. oil spill, the Eurozone crisis, and other crises of regulatory policy?
  • How will Brexit affect the regulation of business, both in the UK and in the rest of the European Union?

By the end of the course, you will have an understanding of the forces that shape the creation and implementation of regulatory policy. You will have knowledge of a wide variety of regulatory tools, such as command and control regulations, management-based regulations, as well as tools of incentive-based regulation, such as taxes and cap and trade. You will be able to understand regulatory processes at domestic and international levels, and will have an understanding of the tools necessary to evaluate regulations as well.