Regulatory problems in the public sector: Theories and cases

Rachel Ashworth*, George A. Boyne, Richard M. Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    52 Citations (Scopus)


    We develop a framework for assessing the extent of regulatory problems, and propose three hypotheses on the reasons for variations in these problems across the public sector. Five theoretical regulatory problems are identified: regulatee resistance, ritualistic compliance, regulatory capture, performance ambiguity and gaps in data. Our case study evidence on organisations in Wales suggests that regulatory capture and performance ambiguity are the most pronounced problems, and are more prevalent in local than in national services. Regulatory problems are negatively associated with the number of regulatory mechanisms, but are not related to the publicness or professionalisation of the organisations under regulation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)195-211
    Number of pages17
    JournalPolicy and Politics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Public sector
    • Regulation
    • Services
    • Wales


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