Chapter

From Industrial Policy to a Regulatory State: Contrasting Institutional Change in Britain and France

Mark Thatcher

in Governing Europe

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780199250158
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599439 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199250154.003.0018
 From Industrial Policy to a Regulatory State: Contrasting Institutional Change in Britain and France

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This chapter compares industrial policy and economic regulation in Britain and France in order to consider national capacities to alter institutions and policy norms. Analyses of the period between 1945 and 1980 have claimed that French policy-makers enjoyed much greater innovatory capacities than their British counterparts, using industrial policy as an example to support their views. Yet the reverse held true in the 1980s and 1990s: Britain was able to introduce more comprehensive reforms, and did so with less difficulty and earlier than did France. It moved decisively towards a ‘regulatory state’, whereas France followed the same direction of change but at a slower, more hesitant pace, without adopting a new rationale for state action. The chapter analyses how and why this was so from a historical institutionalist perspective, before drawing some more general conclusions about institutional change.

Keywords: administrative reform; Britain; economic regulation; France; industrial policy; innovation; institutional change; policy change; United Kingdom

Chapter.  8479 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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