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Regulation may refer to the following:
Regulation creates, limits, or constrains a right, creates or limits a duty, or allocates a responsibility. Regulation can take many forms: legal restrictions promulgated by a government authority, contractual obligations that bind many parties (for example, "insurance regulations" that arise out of contracts between insurers and their insureds), self-regulation by an industry such as through a trade association, social regulation (e.g. norms), co-regulation, third-party regulation, certification, accreditation or market regulation. In its legal sense regulation can and should be distinguished from primary legislation (by Parliament of elected legislative body) on the one hand and judge-made law on the other.
Regulation mandated by a state attempts to produce outcomes which might not otherwise occur, produce or prevent outcomes in different places to what might otherwise occur, or produce or prevent outcomes in different timescales than would otherwise occur. In this way, regulations can be seen as implementation artifacts of policy statements. Common examples of regulation include controls on market entries, prices, wages, development approvals, pollution effects, employment for certain people in certain industries, standards of production for certain goods, the military forces and services. The economics of imposing or removing regulations relating to markets is analysed in regulatory economics.
Regulations, like any other form of coercive action, have costs as well as benefits. Efficient regulations can be defined as those where total benefits exceed total costs.
Regulations can be justified for a variety of reasons, including:
The study of formal (legal and/or official) and informal (extera-legal and/or unofficial) regulation constitutes one of the central concerns of the sociology of law. Legal sociologists have in particular been interested in exploring the limits of formal and legal regulation in changing patterns of social behaviour.
Regulation of businesses existed in the ancient early Egyptian, Indian, Greek, and Roman civilizations. Standardized weights and measures existed to an extent in the ancient world, and gold may have operated to some degree as an international currency. In China, a national currency system existed and paper currency was invented. Sophisticated law existed in Ancient Rome. In the European Early Middle Ages, law, standardization, and the power of the after the decline of Rome, but regulation existed in the form of norms, customs, and privileges; this regulation was aided by the unified Christian identity and a sense of honor in regard to contracts.:5
Beginning in the late 19th and 20th century, much of regulation in the United States was administered and enforced by regulatory agencies which produced their own administrative law and procedures under the authority of statutes. Legislators created these agencies to allow experts in the industry to focus their attention on the issue. At the federal level, one the earliest institutions was the Interstate Commerce Commission which had its roots in earlier state-based regulatory commissions and agencies. Later agencies include the Federal Trade Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, Civil Aeronautics Board, and various other institutions. These institutions vary from industry to industry and at the federal and state level. Individual agencies do not necessarily have a clear life-cycle and patterns of behavior, and are influenced heavily by their leadership and staff as well as the organic law creating the agency. In the 1930s, lawmakers believed that unregulated business often led to injustice and inefficiency; in the 1960s and 1970s, concern shifted to regulatory capture, which led to extremely detailed laws creating the Environmental Protection Administration and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
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