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Regulatory Policy and Politics

Key information

Subject area:

Public Policy, Politics & Security

Course type:

Executive Education

Credit level:


Credit value:



4 weeks

Available course dates:

To be confirmed

Course overview

Over the past decades, regulation has become governments’ preferred type of policy intervention in a wide range of areas of the economy. Food labelling, car emissions, capital held by banks, health and safety in factories – all are subject to standards set by governments, independent regulatory agencies, and international bodies such as the European Union. The regulatory process is a highly complex one, requiring considerable expertise and involving a myriad of actors, from politicians to civil servants, regulatory agencies, courts, business associations, consumer organisations, research institutes, and international forums.

This module provides an introduction to the regulatory process. As the study of regulation is interdisciplinary, we read and critically assess seminal texts in the fields of political science, law, economics, and sociology. In the process, we cover the core theories of regulation, the key actors in the regulatory process, and the main modes of regulation and regulatory enforcement. We utilise the theoretical foundations to analyse recent (real-world) cases of the introduction and change of modes of regulation and regulatory enforcement. In our case studies, we compare the adopted policy option to its alternatives, we analyse the role of the different actors involved in the process, and we reflect on the different drivers of the regulatory process.

The focus of the module is generic, though the literature we read and the case we study are mainly concerned with regulation in the EU and OECD context. Furthermore, the module primarily deals with regulation at the national level, though our last session covers a primary example of international-level regulation; namely, EU regulation.

What does this course cover?

Week 1

In this week we will focus on what regulation is and how it relates to other types of policy intervention. We also address the question of why regulation has become an increasingly important policy tool over the past decades. Furthermore, we look at the key actors in the regulatory process, including politicians, independent regulatory agencies, and the regulated industry.

Week 2

In this second week, we assess the different theories of regulation; in particular, theories that emphasise the role of, respectively, the public interest, private (and especially business) interests, ideas, and institutions. We also analyse the different modes of regulation; modes that vary primarily in terms of the role of the regulated industry in the regulatory process. In the process, we also address the question of the potential of self-regulation by industry.

Week 3

In this final week, we evaluate the different modes of enforcement and the way in which these seek to enhance regulatory compliance. We also analyse their rationale; in particular, their underlying assumptions about business motivation. Furthermore, we shift our attention away from national-level regulation to EU regulation, assessing the form that such regulation takes, and the reasons behind regulation being the EU’s main policy tool.

What will I achieve?

Upon completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Analyse the role of key actors in the regulatory process, the main modes of regulation and enforcement, and the key factors driving the process.
  • Compare and evaluate the core features of the different theories of regulation and the different modes of regulation and enforcement
  • Critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the different theories of regulation and the different modes of regulation and enforcement.
  • Evaluate the relevance of the different approaches for understanding real-world cases of regulation and enforcement, and assess the factors that have driven real-world regulatory choices.

Who will I learn with?

Christel  Koop

Christel Koop

Professor of Political Economy

Olga Siemers

Olga Siemers

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy

Who is this for?

This short course is for mid-career professionals. Standard entry requirements are a 2:1 degree plus 3 years of relevant work experience. Applicants without a 2:1 or higher degree are welcome to apply and typically require 5+ years of relevant work experience.

How will I be assessed?

One written assignment, plus participation in webinars and discussion forums.

Our modules offer high levels of interaction with regular points of assessment and feedback. Each four week module is worth five Master's level academic credits and includes three webinars with a King's lecturer and peer group of global professionals.

What is the teaching schedule?

Format: Fully online, plus 3 x 1-hour weekly webinars

This module has been designed specifically for an online audience. It uses a range of interactive activities to support learning including discussion forums, online readings, interactive lectures videos and online tutorials.

Fees and discounts

Tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Further information

Module creators

Dr Christel Koop, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy. Christel is Senior Lecturer in Political Economy. Her research focuses on regulation and other areas of economic policy-making, both at the national and EU-level. She is particularly interested in the independence, accountability, and legitimacy of technocratic decision-making.

Please note that this is only indicative information. Lecturers and course content are subject to change. Please contact us directly for the most recent information.

Course status:


Full fee £950


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