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Cooperative Legalism and the Non-Americanization of European Regulatory Styles: The Case of Data Privacy

American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 59, No. 2, pp. 411-461, 2011

GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2011-1

GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-1

53 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2011 Last revised: 11 Feb 2016

Francesca Bignami

George Washington University - Law School

Date Written: March 7, 2011

Abstract

European countries have experienced massive structural transformations over the past twenty-five years with the privatization of state-owned industries, the liberalization of markets, and the rise of the European Union. According to one prominent line of analysis, these changes have led to the Americanization of European regulatory styles: previously informal and cooperative modes of regulation are becoming adversarial and litigation-driven, as in the American system. This article explores the Americanization hypothesis with a structured comparison of data privacy regulation in four countries (France, Britain, Germany, and Italy) and a review of three other policy areas. It finds that European regulatory systems are indeed converging, but not on American-style litigation. Rather, they are moving towards a common administrative model of deterrence-oriented regulatory enforcement and industry self-regulation -- called here “cooperative legalism.” The explanation for this emerging regulatory strategy is to be found in government responses to market liberalization, as well as in the pressure created by the governance process of the European Union.

Keywords: Comparative Law, Regulation, Administrative Law, Americanization, Data Privacy, Data Protection

JEL Classification: K2, K4

Suggested Citation

Bignami, Francesca, Cooperative Legalism and the Non-Americanization of European Regulatory Styles: The Case of Data Privacy (March 7, 2011). American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 59, No. 2, pp. 411-461, 2011; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2011-1; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1813966

Francesca Bignami (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-2470 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.gwu.edu/Faculty/profile.aspx?id=14593

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