Wikis > Patterns of authoritative tool use: indirect regulation and increased public participation

Looking at the use and promotion of authority-based substantive policy tools, it is clear that regulations are compatible with most modes of governance, depending on how state directed they are. Many policy designs have indeed changed over the past two decades in this tool area. Within an existing governance mode, for example, many regulatory activities have shifted from ‘enforcement’ to ‘compliance’ regimes (Hawkins and Thomas 1989; Doern and Wilks 1998). But these activities remain compatible with pre-existing modes of governance and do not necessarily infer a shift towards market or network forms of governance as proponents of phenomena such as deregulation – often linked to patterns of globalization and networkization – have alleged.

Nevertheless, it is true that many governments in recent years have made varying levels of effort, albeit often more in formulation than implementation, to deregulate important sectors of their economies; that is, to shift from earlier legal or corporatist governance modes to a more market or network mode. Many such efforts have however failed to produce qualitatively superior results than the regimes they replaced, leading to a movement back towards ‘re-regulation’ in the policy designs adopted or proposed in many jurisdictions (Jordana and Levi-Faur 2004; Ramesh and Howlett 2006).

In addition to these developments in the substantive area, with respect to procedural authoritative instruments, it is crucial to underscore the development of demands for enhanced participation and consultation in government policy-making driven by domestic groups (Kernaghan et al. 2000). But this is not a new phenomenon and there has been substantial growth in the use of consultative forums and mechanisms in many sectors and countries over the past half century. This extends from the increased use of public hearings to the increased creation (and regulation) of advisory committees. As David Brown noted as early as 1955 in the USA, for example, while in 1938 there were perhaps 100 advisory boards in the US federal government, by 1955 there were fifty in the US Department of Agriculture alone (versus four in 1938). Smith (1977) also noted that this phenomenon varied by jurisdiction and that while by 1962–63 the US federal government had over 900 advisory committees and the UK in 1960 about 500, Australia only about 200 by 1975.

Institutionalized forms of citizen involvement in policy-making attempt to replace agenda-setting and policy influence by only those actors intimately involved in project or policy proposals with a process in which ‘outsiders’ as well as ‘insiders’ can promote new and alternative perspectives on these issues, and can be viewed as generally attempting to move legal, corporatist and market modes of governance towards more ‘network’ types (Marchildon 2007). But advisory committees, commissions, task forces, and round tables already exist in many sectors and are compatible with other governance modes, not just network ones.