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Course module: 201500158
Regulatory Design and Implementation beyond the Nation State
Course infoSchedule
Course module201500158
Credits (ECTS)5
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionDutch, English
Contact personS. Donnelly
S. Donnelly
Contactperson for the course
S. Donnelly
Academic year2021
Starting block
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISYes
How is regulation designed beyond the nation state, and how do professionals play a role in shaping it and coping with it? This course provides practical experience in all stages of the process, covering all of the main ways that international institutions regulate—from strong delegated powers, to strong national powers with light coordination, to self-regulation by market participants that international institutions try to change by identifying and promoting best practice.

When dealing with the single market, most European legislation involves delegating the power to regulate to the European Commission, subject to oversight by national governments and the European Parliament, with the input of expert advisory bodies and the opinions of the regulated. When dealing with global governance bodies, and some European institutions, standards are often set through soft law that only become hard obligations when national governments accept them. This course provides basic reading and instruction on how that happens, and then expects students to study in groups how that works on a specific topic of regulation. Each week has a specific assignment that goes into a final report, ending in a policy presentation / poster session in the final week.

The course therefore trains you to be an expert in how international institutions generate rules and how the regulated cope with them. You will learn a variety of different ways, and how to cope with each. The course requires you to apply your policy-specific expertise to show how international regulation is generated and implemented. Topics might be related to economic policy, financial market regulation, social policy, product safety or medical devices and pharmaceuticals in the health sector. You will work in a group that works through weekly assignments that you discuss with other groups, to compare how things work in your different cases. By the end of the course, you should have expertise in designing regulation, participating in the process, dealing with the consequences, generating research reports, and presenting findings.

In this course, you'll have the task of preparing a group report on how a specific piece of regulation is designed and implemented, starting from its international roots. It is not a lecture, but is project-based learning, in accordance with the Twente Educational Model. You have some foundation readings each week that deal with international institutions, stakeholders and the regulatory process that will be discussed in class about half of the class time each week. The rest of the class time will be devoted to structured feedback on papers and comparison between them for educational purposes. Each week deals with a different part of the process that highlights how different actors become involved and what difference they make. The task for you as a group each week is to make a first draft of your deliverable before you come to class, revise and build on it in light of the initial discussion of the foundation readings while you're there, and compare and contrast how that worked in your case study with others. In week 8, you will present your findings in a first full draft. In week 10, you will submit your final report.
  • Students are free to choose their topic. In the past, groups have chosen to examine regulations focused on pharmaceuticals, medical devices and technology, derivative trading, food safety of meat products, part-time work and promoting renewable energy. Topics may include areas where international institutions have very strong powers and ones where there are regulatory standards on the books, but patchy obligations in practice.
Students must choose one project, and a team in which to follow it, at the beginning of the course Suggestions will be made and options discussed in the first week of classes. Past examples of projects are:
  • Banking and Financial Market Regulation (Responses to Financial Crisis)
  • Renewable Energy and Carbon Emissions

- Work Conditions
    • Banking and Financial Market Regulation
    • Renewable Energy and Carbon Emissions
    • Nuclear Energy Safety
    • Safety of Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals and Nanotechnology
    • Public Health in Zoonoses (bird flu, SARS), Epidemiology & Organ Transplants
    • Cosmetic Testing on Animals and Alternatives

    The weekly sessions deal with the following topics, and demand the following work:
Week 1:              Introduction to International Regulatory Design and Implementation

International Organizations and Standard-Setting Bodies Week 2:              Origins of Regulation Beyond the Nation State
  • Delegation to International Bodies
  • Means of Accountability

Project Assignment (1):

Making reference to a core piece of legislation that defines your project field, or a core policy area that is tied to several pieces of legislation, identify the type of delegation made to the European Commission (to monitor, to issue secondary legislation and regulations, to enforce) and the reasoning for the delegation. Beyond the technical reasons, what are the public policy reasonings, and the likely impact of delegation?

Week 3:              Regulatory Proposals and Design Project Assignment (2):
Making reference to the policy area described in Assignment (1), identify the way that the international body proposes, debates and generates standards. How would you best describe the relationship between the international body in question and the other stakeholders involved based on the evidence?

Week 4:              Expert advisory committees and supervisory authorities: epistemic power Project Assignment (3):
Making reference to the same delegated power studied in (1) and (2), identify and describe the Agency, Authority, lobby group or network that is involved in assisting international regulatory bodies determine what to do and how to do it as it carries out its delegated responsibilities. To what extent is there a close correspondence between the position of the expert body or authority and the position of the international body? And the position of key national governments? And the position of key private sector lobby groups, either in business or the public interest sector?

Week 5:               Implementation: degrees of discretion in international regulation and balancing international goals with national difference Project Assignment (4):
Making reference to regulatory standards, documents observed so far, and where available, secondary literature, assess the degree of discretion that is retained by national legislators and competent authorities, or alternatively, self-regulation by private groups in the context of international regulation in the area you are studying. If possible, assess why this is so and whether it strengthens or weakens the public purpose intent of international regulatory standards..

Week 6:              Persuasion, Enforcement and Self-Regulation Project Assignment (5):
Policy areas vary by the degree to which they rely on direct regulation, supervision and enforcement at the international level or the national level. Depending on the degree of delegation international bodies often rely on the open method of coordination, persuasion, policy learning and best practice rather than command and control regulation. Making reference to how regulation is governed in your project area, how would you characterize the implementation of international regulations? Has it had any effect on the regulatory distinctiveness of individual countries, or the establishment of common standards, and what is the long-term prospect as a result? What is the impact that it has as a result?

Week 7:             Policy Networks and Regulatory Outcomes in the Absence of Rules Project Assignment (6):

Networks fill in many of the gaps between countries where common laws, institutions and obligations are weak, and serve to supply certain kinds of cooperation, where these are desired. They also influence future legislation and regulation by engaging with lawmakers and delegated authorities. Is there an identifiable network of public and private actors in your project area? Describe membership, means of interaction, means of connecting with the policy-making process, and impact. Is there a pattern in determining who is most influential?

Week 8:              Assessment: How much Change?

Project Assignment (7): full report draft. Consider in the conclusion what impact the regulation has, why that is, and how it can be improved, if necessary.

Competences: Research, analysis, writing, presentation, group work skills.
Prerequisites: None, but students without prior European Studies must read additional material provided by the instructor on the EU's basic institutional setup.
Participating Programmes: M-ES, M-PA
Participating study
Master European Studies
Participating study
Master Public Administration
Required materials
Recommended materials
Course material
Selected articles and chapters made available via Canvas.
Instructional modes
Presence dutyYes

Self study without assistance

Presence dutyYes


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