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The attractions of risk-based regulation: accounting for the emergence of risk ideas in regulation

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Recent decades have witnessed a massive growth in academic studies of risk and the rapid development of a risk industry (Gabe, 1995). In many respects risk has become a new lens through which to view the world. This can be seen in business, government and also in academic studies where conversations about risk grow ever popular. Regulation is no exception and during the 1980s/ 1990s regulatory discussions in a number of countries incorporated an imperative to adopt risk-based strategies and tools, in some cases heightened by the state's co-option of corporate risk management systems (Hutter, 2001; Power, 1999). This discussion paper will draw on the British experience as its main exemplar but in the expectation that this case can provide insights which help us to understand and explain the emergence or absence of risk-based ideas elsewhere. We will focus on some prominent examples of risk-based regulation, and critically examine why risk approaches, tools and language appear to have gained currency and the related issue of their merits and limitations.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/13309/

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