Regulatory Trust

57 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2009 Last revised: 13 Nov 2012

See all articles by Rebecca M. Bratspies

Rebecca M. Bratspies

City University of New York - School of Law

Date Written: March 18, 2009


When regulators make decisions in the face of uncertainty, what gives legitimacy to their decisions? Trust clearly plays a role in bridging regulatory uncertainty, but what is the relationship between law and trust? This article offers framework for thinking about trust in regulatory contexts by developing a broad-based, multi-dimensional conception of the roles that trust plays in regulatory systems. Positing that "regulatory trust" is unique kind of social trust, this framework traces the reflexive relationship among regulatory trust's components, and explores means to cultivate the regulatory trust necessary to to allow regulatory agencies to govern effectively in the face of fundamental uncertainty.

Keywords: trust, uncertainty, regulation, expertise, governance, regulatory system, GMO, sustainability, transparency, stewardship

Suggested Citation

Bratspies, Rebecca M., Regulatory Trust (March 18, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Rebecca M. Bratspies (Contact Author)

City University of New York - School of Law ( email )

2 Court Square
Long Island City, NY 11101
United States

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