Environmental regulation : co-operation and the capacity for control
This thesis examines the contention that effective regulation has as much to do with the capacity for co-operation between inter-dependent actors as it has to do with the state's capacity for control. This contention, and the alternative conception of regulation that it implies, is significant because it is associated with a tension that runs through many areas of public policy: does cooperation between the public and the private, or between the regulators and the regulated, lead to effective collective action or to regulatory capture? Following a conceptual examination of the nature of regulation and implementation, the thesis considers the explanatory value of two different perspectives on cooperation and collective action: the rational choice perspective, which suggests that the behaviour of economically responsive actors is shaped by the incentives for cooperation that stem from their interdependence, and the institutional perspective, which contends that as particular forms of behaviour emerge, evolve and become institutionalised, so the implementation process becomes embedded in particular institutional structures that enable the continuation of existing approaches whilst restricting the potential for change. In seeking to examine the explanatory value of these perspectives, the thesis considers the factors shaping the implementation of two frameworks of environmental regulation, namely the frameworks of Integrated Pollution Control and Local Air Pollution Control as applied in England and Wales. Based on a comparative analysis of the factors that shape the nature and influence of each implementation process, the thesis concludes that the explanatory value of the rational choice perspective is fundamentally limited and that the value of the institutional perspective is much more complete. On this basis, the thesis proposes an institutional perspective on regulation and implementation that recognises the significance of resource inter-dependencies and the ways in which cooperative approaches can increase the prospects for collective action whilst reducing the accountability and the manageability of the implementation process. As is discussed, this conclusion has significant implications for broader debates on regulation and governance.