Why was the enforcement pyramid so influential? And what price was paid?

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Although responsive regulation includes much more than the enforcement pyramid, it is the pyramid that has received most attention from academics and practitioners. This is despite the fact that the implementation of the strategy of gradual escalation has proved challenging in many respects. Why has the enforcement pyramid been so attractive? Apart from its scholarly and policy usefulness, this paper suggests it appeals to practitioners because it provides a theoretical endorsement of the professional autonomy to which practitioners aspire. It was and is still appealing to scholars because it provides a practical means to improve regulation which is congruent with the dominant neoliberal reflex to depoliticize the regulation of capitalist economies. All in all, because responsive regulation has very largely been reduced to the enforcement pyramid, the literature has neglected the normative issues surrounding the regulation of capitalist economies that were central to Ayres and Braithwaite.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-60
Number of pages13
JournalRegulation & Governance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2012


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