How can we characterize nano-specific soft regulation? Lessons from occupational health and safety governance

Aline Reichow, Barbel R. Dorbeck-Jung

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Soft regulation is a widely used instrument in the governance of emerging technologies, especially in the governance of nanotechnologies. So far, evaluations on the effects of nano-specific soft regulation cannot build on a coherent and consistent typology. Characterization of soft regulation is important for empirical research (case selection) and policy recommendations. This chapter develops a characterization scheme that serves to depict soft regulation that is established to support risk assessment and risk management of emerging technologies. The characterization scheme is tested in four examples of nano-specific soft regulation that focus on occupational health and safety issues. The preliminary evaluation of the testing exercise indicates that the classification scheme can stimulate critical reflection on the quality of the regulatory design by touching on gaps and problems of clarity and consistency. It shows also how beneficial the scheme can be to signal potential effectiveness problems. The scheme is a very first step towards a more sophisticated typology with refined and extended categories that provide a broader frame for the evaluation of the effectiveness of technology-related regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShaping Emerging Technologies
Subtitle of host publicationGovernance, Innovation, Discourse
EditorsKornelia Konrad, Christopher Coenen, Anne Dijkstra, Colin Milburn, Harro van Lente
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherIOS Press/AKA
Number of pages248
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

PublisherIOS Press/AKA


  • METIS-298962
  • IR-87889


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