The Political Economy of Australian Regulatory Reform

Published in the Australian Journal of Public Administration (together with Chris Berg, Aaron M Lane and Patrick A McLaughlin).

Abstract: The problem of regulatory accumulation has increasingly been recognised as a policy problem in its own right. Governments have then devised and implemented regulatory reform policies that directly seek to ameliorate the burdens of regulatory accumulation (e.g. red tape reduction targets). In this paper we examine regulatory reform approaches in Australia through the lens of policy innovation. Our contributions are twofold. We first examine the evolutionary discovery process of regulatory reform policies in Australia (at the federal, intergovernmental, and state levels). This demonstrates a process of policy innovation in regulatory mechanisms and measurements. We then analyse a new measurement of regulatory burden based on text analytics, RegData: Australia. RegData: Australia uses textual analysis to count ‘restrictiveness clauses’ in regulation – such as ‘must’, ‘cannot’ and ‘shall’ – thereby developing a new database (RDAU1.0). We place this ‘restrictiveness clauses’ measurement within the context of regulatory policy innovation, and examine the potential for further innovation in regulatory reform mechanisms.

Regulation and Technological Change

Book chapter published in Australia’s Red Tape Crisis: The Causes and Costs of Over-Regulation (with Chris Berg)

Abstract: Blockchain technology enables entrepreneurs to develop new decentralised governance structures to coordinate human interaction and exchange. That is, blockchain enables exit from political-socioeconomic systems through new forms of property rights protection and enforcement. This chapter examines the economic problem facing entrepreneurs as they use blockchain to cryptosecede and develop the new governance structures of the cryptoeconomy. The analysis draws on institutional and new development economics, arguing that blockchain entrepreneurs face a private economic development problem over complementary ‘protective-tier’ institutional technologies (Leeson and Boettke 2009). This understanding of the parallels between territorial economic development and the cryptoeconomy development helps explain collaboration between blockchain entrepreneurs within governance structures such as hackathons and conferences (Allen 2017). These collaborative governance structures are entrepreneurial efforts of self-governed economic development of the cryptoeconomy.