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Regulatory policy: Theory and practice


Admission requirements

Elective for students of the master Public Administration.


Regulatory policy is about achieving governments’ objectives by various regulations and other policy instruments. These instruments are put in place to change the behavior of (semi-)private actors to achieve society’s goals, such as improved sustainability, economic wellbeing or ethics. The instruments can vary from stringent rules forbidding or demanding certain actions, to encouraging market mechanisms (e.g. eco-labels) and influencing behavior by indirect nudging. Realizing the broad range of different instruments and being aware of the different assumptions they make about actors’ motivation and capacity, are essential for developing effective instruments. Different types of regulatory instruments and their assumptions for effectiveness are the key focus of the course. Furthermore, current societal developments such as globalization and rapid technological change affect the effectiveness of many regulatory instruments. Regulation, of course, is never only a product of technical expertise but also of a complex political-administrative process and affected by many stakeholders.

The course makes use of a case-based teaching approach: we explore theoretical arguments and key concepts in regulatory policy through a weekly real-life case (e.g. forbidding traditional light bulbs, animal welfare policy, eco-labels, oil spill crisis, international surrogacy agreements).

Course objectives

  • Understanding different regulatory instruments with their theoretical and practical assumptions

  • Knowledge and understanding the key issues and current trends in regulatory policy and politics

  • Ability to analyse real life problems in various policy sectors from the perspective of regulatory theory


On the right side of programme front page of the e-Prospectus you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

The course consists of 7 seminar sessions and self-study.

Assessment method

  1. Case portfolio: 4 assignments (pass/fail)
  2. Exam (100%)
  3. Participation (pass/fail)

Partial grades are only valid in the current academic year; partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

Reading list



Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams). Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.

Registration for this course is possible from Wednesday 13 December 13.00h

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.

More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.

Please note: guest-/contract-/exchange students do not register via MyStudymap but via uSis.


Dr. M. Beerkens