Francesca Bignami, The Non-Americanization of European Regulatory Styles: Data Privacy Regulation in France, Germany, Italy, and Britain
Comment by: Herbert Bukert
Published version available here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1813966
Workshop draft abstract:
European countries have experienced massive structural transformation over the past twenty-five years with the privatization of state-owned industries, the liberalization of markets, and the rise of the European Union. Yet there is little consensus on how these structural changes have impacted traditional European regulatory styles, generally thought to be informal and flexible compared to the litigation-driven and legalistic American regulatory style. This article argues that European countries are converging on a model of administration that relies on legalistic regulatory enforcement and that gives market actors extensive opportunities for self-regulation but that otherwise leaves intact earlier regulatory styles. In particular, contrary to claims of Americanization, litigation remains a relatively insignificant component of the regulatory process. The explanation for the emerging regulatory model—called “cooperative legalism”— is to be found in the dynamics of Europeanization, which has both facilitated the diffusion of self-regulation from northern to southern countries and put pressure on national governments to demonstrate their commitment to EU policies through legalistic enforcement. The evidence for this theory is drawn from a structured comparison of data privacy regulation in four countries (France, Britain, Germany, and Italy) and a review of three other policy areas.