Within the sphere of economic and social regulation, two of the longest standing debates concern appropriate regulatory design and compliance and enforcement. Should regulators for example, prefer command and control or opt for a more cooperative approach, and in enforcement should they prefer punishment to persuasion? In short, what intervention strategy works best and why?
Drawing principally from examples in the areas of occupational health and safety and environmental regulation, this paper examines both these debates, examining whether, to what extent and in what ways, policy has shifted from traditional to a cooperative approach, and with what consequences. In doing so it examines a range of influential theories including Responsive Regulation, Meta-Regulation and Management Based Regulation. It concludes by arguing for context based policy involving policy mixes rather than for “one size fits all” solutions.