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The Regulatizing Process and the Boundaries of New Public Governance

58 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2010 Last revised: 10 Feb 2010

Edward L. Rubin

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: February 8, 2010


New Public Governance is one of the most significant intellectual movements in the theory of government to have emerged in the past few decades. It suggests that regulators should develop a more modulated, cooperative approach to the task of achieving compliance with regulatory programs, rather than relying on the adversarial stance that characterizes command and control regulation. This speaks directly to the concerns about regulation that have raised by both scholars and elected officials, and that may provide a model for the Obama Administration’s strategy in this important area. The question is when the recommendations of New Public Governance are likely to be most effective, and when they should be treated with caution. This paper advances an answer based on the social theory of Norbert Elias ("The Civilizing Process,” 1939). One feature of Elias’ theory is its suggestion that regulation is not a static process for which one temporally independent approach will be optimal, but a dynamic one that changes and evolves, which means that different approaches will be optimal at different stages of the process. The paper illustrates the applicability of Elias’ theory - and the advantages of a dynamic theory of regulation in general - by using the example of commercial airline regulation. It concludes that the effectiveness of a New Public Governance approach is likely to increase as regulated parties become more accustomed to, and accepting toward, the regulatory framework.

Keywords: regulation, governance, compliance, airlines, regulated industries

Suggested Citation

Rubin, Edward L., The Regulatizing Process and the Boundaries of New Public Governance (February 8, 2010). Wisconsin Law Review, Forthcoming; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 10-04. Available at SSRN:

Edward L. Rubin (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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