Six months on the job

Time flies! It’s now a little over six months since I started as Professor and Chair in Regulatory Practice at the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington. In those months, we have worked towards laying the foundations for the Chair for the next years. This involved developing and fine-tuning a five-year research plan, trialling different formats for Regulatory Clinics as a means of interacting with the regulatory community in New Zealand and setting up a series of research activities. I issued a newsletter in October 2018 and a newsletter in January 2019 to capture some of these activities.

Behavioural insights informed regulation: A systematic review

The last six months, the central focus of the Chair has been to understand whether, how and with what results insights from the behavioural sciences are applied in New Zealand and elsewhere. To this end, I have carried out an extensive systematic review of the international academic literature on the use of behavioural insights in regulation published over the last decade. This review is now available as the first State of the Art in Regulatory Governance Research Paper: Behavioural Insights and Regulatory Practice: A Review of the International Academic Literature.

The focus of the next six months: Risk-based regulation

Over the next six months, I will focus on risk-based regulation. Following the structure of the behavioural insights review, I will map the evolution of risk-based regulation, explore some examples from around the world, interrogate evidence of its workings, and discuss the ethical and epistemic challenges that come with this approach to regulation. I aim to have a second State of the Art in Regulatory Governance Research Paper (on risk-based regulation) available by early July 2019. Until then, I will write blog posts here to discuss some findings on risk-based regulation.

The overarching focus for the next five years: Regulatory stewardship

As I explain in more depth in the newsletters, I feel a need to focus my research activities more strongly on regulatory stewardship over the next five years. The key notion of stewardship is common to legal scholars (e.g., constitutional stewardship), environmental scholars (e.g., environmental stewardship) and management scholars (e.g., stewardship theory). The concept has, however, not had much attention in regulatory scholarship. That said, New Zealand is a world leader in that it has made ‘regulatory stewardship’ a statutory obligation for all government departments. This provides the Chair with a unique opportunity to bring the New Zealand experience with regulatory stewardship to the international academic and policy community and to enrich the New Zealand experience by exploring the international scholarship on how the notion of stewardship has developed over time, is applied in various disciplines, and with what effect.

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