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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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Opinion‐Responsive Government and Risk Regulation

Opinion‐Responsive Government and Risk Regulation

(p.90) 6 Opinion‐Responsive Government and Risk Regulation
The Government of Risk

Christopher Hood (Contributor Webpage)

Henry Rothstein (Contributor Webpage)

Robert Baldwin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Explores the logic of basing risk regulation on mass popular opinion and explores the extent and conditions in which state regulation of risk reflects general public opinion. The chapter draws together existing empirical evidence about public attitudes towards the nine case‐study risks and presents a substantial and original analysis of the salience of those risks in UK newspapers over 12 years to 1998. Analysis suggests that public opinion is certainly a shaper of risk regulation regimes, most obviously in relation to some standard‐setting activities, but it appears to be a constraint or support rather than the key driver. Regulatory activity appears to be better explained by the contingent alignment and relative strengths of other forces shaping regimes. Moreover, the chapter also identifies four important strategies employed by regulators for managing misalignments between public preferences and the preferences of policy experts or other organized interests.

Keywords:   media salience, newspapers, organized interests, policy experts, public opinion, risk regulation, regulators, standards, United Kingdom

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