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Title: Who benefits? : comparing public and private interest explanations of professions regulation public policy
Author: O'Leary, Chris
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 155X
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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What motivates actors as they engage in the professions regulation policy process? Are they motivated to serve their own, selfish interests or the wider, public interests? This key question has been at the heart of policy and academic debate since the first independent regulatory body, the General Medical Council, was established by Parliament in 1858. It is a debate that has affected changes in the professions meta-regulatory framework as well as the regulatory regimes affecting many different professions, aspiring professions and occupational groups. In this thesis, I compare public and private interest explanations of the policy process around professions regulation in the UK. I have explored this question by examining five very different professions – architects, hearing aid dispensers, pharmacists, psychotherapists and teachers - and their relevant regulators as they managed changes in their regulatory regimes. I explored the observable expectations arising from two private interest models, bureau-shaping and rent seeking, as they applied to the motivations of regulators and professional bodies respectively. I also explored public service motivation theory, a theory has seen much academic interest in recent years, particularly in the public administration field. I examined these theories with respect to three key non-political interest groups: regulators, professions and the public. Overall, my research suggests, on balance, private interest theories provide a more convincing explanation of the motivations of regulators and professional bodies as they engaged in these regulation policy developments. But there were differences, over time and between regulators and profession bodies, as to whether private or public interest motivations were more dominant or evident. There was evidence that public interests also motivated these actors. I also draw a number of conclusions about the theoretical validity of both rent seeking and public service motivation theories.
Supervisor: Pennington, Mark ; Meadowcroft, John James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available