Understanding Regulation

Facts, Analysis and Comment

Regulating Certain Sectors and Activities

Many interesting political and technical issues arise in the regulation of areas such as Consumer Protection, Health, Education, Energy, Railways, and Health & Safety. Broadly speaking, such areas can be divided between non-economic and economic regulation although the regulation of the health service, in particular, falls into both camps.

Non-economic Regulation: Voters expect politicians to take an active interest in the quality of the health and education services, as well as in consumer protection, in reducing risks to health and safety, in protecting our savings, and in the ownership of key industries. Equally, politicians and regulators cannot micro-manage all our social services, nor can they (nor should they try to) protect us from all risks. The first set of web pages (listed on the right) explore these regulatory issues in some depth.

In contrast, economic regulators generally work with very little interference from politicians. Please follow the second set of links on the right for information about introducing competition into naturally monopolistic industries, setting price controls, and other issues that arise in the regulation of those sectors.

Information about how the Competition Authorities set about protecting us from cartels, abuse of dominance, and harmful mergers can be found in the Competition Policy area of this website. And there is a separate set of pages which explain Utility Regulation.

The most popular and/or trending pages in this section of the website are: