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Designing Regulation Across Organizations: Assessing the Functions and Dimensions of Governance


In recent years, regulation scholars and policymakers have increasingly turned their attention to the role of inter-governmental organizational design in effective governance. The existing literature on regulatory design has provided important insights into the advantages and disadvantages of alternative structural options. This article synthesizes and builds on that literature by describing a novel framework for characterizing, analyzing, and structuring authority across public institutions. Drawing on examples from a range of jurisdictions, it highlights the value of this framework in identifying the values tradeoffs that should drive policymakers' decisions to choose among competing structural alternatives. The framework is founded on two important points. First, inter-governmental allocations of authority can be structured along three different dimensions. Failing to appreciate the existence of, and differences among, these dimensions can prompt misassessments of the reasons for existing regulatory failures and selection of structural allocations that do not suit the problems intended to be addressed. Second, allocations of authority can, and in many cases should, vary for disparate governmental functions. Differential functional allocations of authority can minimize obstacles to needed structural reforms and tailor inter-governmental relations in ways that best promote chosen regulatory values, such as efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability, as well as how allocational choices may and perhaps should vary depending on the governmental function being performed. Finally, the article suggests how future regulation and governance scholarship can harness this emerging framework to help build a body of empirical evidence upon which policymakers can draw in future regulatory design endeavors.

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