Exploring the pathways: Regulatory experiments for sustainable development – An interdisciplinary approach

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Dierk Bauknecht ORCID logo, Thore Sören Bischoff ORCID logo, Kilian Bizer ORCID logo, Martin Führ ORCID logo, Peter Gailhofer ORCID logo, Dirk Arne Heyen ORCID logo, Till Proeger ORCID logo, Kaja von der Leyen ORCID logo


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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations provide normative orientation for many national and regional governments as well as actors from industry and other parts of the civil society. There is a growing consensus that the corresponding transformation processes needed – e.g., in the field of production and consumption patterns (SDG 12) – have to be fostered by a corresponding institutional framework. Properly designed experiments that generate a learning system for all actors involved may be an important building block. Based on an interdisciplinary approach, we provide an overview of the various terminologies for experimentation currently discussed in the social sciences, derive common criteria for a broader approach to the concept of “regulatory experimentation” in reflexive governance structures and present a novel conceptual framework for analysing empirical studies of regulatory experiments.

Keywords: Regulation, Regulatory Experimenting, Sustainable Development, Reflexive Governance, Regulatory Learning

Authors’ individual contribution: Conceptualization – D.B., K.B., M.F., D.A.H., and T.P.; Methodology – T.S.B., K.v.d.L., and D.B.; Formal Analysis – T.S.B. and K.v.d.L.; Writing – Original Draft – T.S.B., K.v.d.L., D.B., P.G., and D.A.H.; Writing – Review & Editing – D.B., T.S.B., K.v.d.L., K.B., M.F., and T.P.; Visualization – T.S.B.; Supervision – K.B.; Project Administration – K.v.d.L.; Funding Acquisition – D.B., K.B., M.F., D.A.H., and T.P.

Declaration of conflicting interests: The Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Acknowledgements: The present paper is one result of the research project REraGI – Regulatory experiments for the reflexive and adaptive governance of innovation. The research project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (16ITA213A).

JEL Classification: L51, O31, Q58

Received: 18.06.2020
Accepted: 17.08.2020
Published online: 19.08.2020

How to cite this paper: Bauknecht, D., Bischoff, T. S., Bizer, K., Führ, M., Gailhofer, P., Heyen, D. A., Proeger, T., & von der Leyen, K. (2020). Exploring the pathways: Regulatory experiments for sustainable development – An interdisciplinary approach. Journal of Governance & Regulation, 9(3), 49-71. https://doi.org/10.22495/jgrv9i3art4