The Rise and Fall of Regulatory Regimes: Extending the Life-Cycle Approach

Extensive research has been conducted on the life-cycles of products, technologies, firms, industries, markets and many other institutions and organizations.

A recent article prepared for the Carleton University annual publication “How Ottawa Spends” by Delsys Research consultants and associates argues that the life-cycle approach should be extended to regulations, regulators and regulatory regimes.  This extension provides insights that are important at the present time when regulatory regimes in Canada and many other advanced and emerging market economies are facing difficult, complex and unpredictable pressures and challenges.

Previous work of Delsys Research and its associates indicated that managers of regulatory programs often implicitly apply a holistic and dynamic life-cycle approach in describing how their programs have changed from inception to the present time and the impacts these evolutionary changes have had on regulatory performance.  Their experience and the regulatory literature clearly illustrate that the life-cycle stage of a regulatory regime is very important to regulatory compliance and enforcement, the achievement of desired policy outcomes, and the ability of the regime and regulator to absorb external shocks, including major reductions in regulatory budgets and fundamental changes in regulatory philosophies approaches as captured in the One-for-One Rule and other regulatory reforms.

Based on this practical experience and the life-cycle and related literatures, this article discusses a systems-based, dynamic and holistic approach and insight model to the life-cycle of regulatory regimes.  The following link provides readers with access to a short article which summarizes the major features and benefits from applying this regulatory life-cycle approach and insight model to regulations, regulatory agencies and regulatory regimes.  Special emphasis is placed on the risk that many of the more mature regulatory regimes that are now very important in Canada and other OECD economies could face a “mid-life crisis” that may not be anticipated by governments and stakeholders.

With Contributions from Craig Marchand
Graphic by Katie Cassidy 
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