Carol A Heimer, “Disarticulated Responsiveness: The Theory and Practice of Responsive Regulation in Multi-Layered Systems”

Working Abstract

For the most part, those writing about responsive regulation focus their attention on a single level, though usually with acknowledgement of the existence of other layers. Here, with reference to the voluminous scholarship carried out and inspired by the Braithwaite team, we examine what responsive regulation means for street level bureaucrats, for regulatory agencies and those whom they regulate, and for policymakers. The article decomposes responsiveness into its constituent elements – attentiveness, timeliness, single-mindedness, and incorruptibility. Using examples from a variety of settings including the regulation of egg producers, pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, and shipping firms, the article shows why it is so difficult for regulators to keep attention on key regulatory problems, to adjust to time sensitivities in the arenas they regulate, to maintain separations between risk management and production, and to curb attempts to game the system. The objective is to see how responsiveness varies from one level to another and how the interdependence of levels shapes the overall system.

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