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The Government of RiskUnderstanding Risk Regulation Regimes$
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Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243631

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199243638.001.0001

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Exploring the ‘Market Failure’ Hypothesis

Exploring the ‘Market Failure’ Hypothesis

(p.70) 5 Exploring the ‘Market Failure’ Hypothesis
The Government of Risk

Christopher Hood (Contributor Webpage)

Henry Rothstein (Contributor Webpage)

Robert Baldwin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Explores how far variety amongst risk regulation regimes can be explained by ‘market failure’ explanations of risk regulation. A ‘market failure’ approach assumes that state activity will consist of the minimal level of intervention needed to correct for specific failures in market or tort‐law processes created by risks—i.e. where the costs of individuals informing themselves about risks or opting out of risks through market or civil law methods are very high. This chapter analyses the market failure characteristics of the nine case‐study risks and then compares theoretical expectations with what is observed in practice. Analysis suggests that ‘market failure’ explanations can go some way in explaining observed regime variety, and certainly take us beyond superficial ideas of the ‘nanny state’ or its converse, but cannot predict a substantial proportion of observed features and paradoxes.

Keywords:   civil law, costs, information, intervention, market failure, nanny state, regulation, risk, tort law

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