The question of whether or not religion accounts for variance in the governance of moral issues, between and within countries over time, has long been debated but never conclusively answered. A novel data set encompassing innovative measurements of state regulation of ‘life-and-death’ issues and of the religious stratification of society enables us to answer why previous studies reached contradictory results. The time-series cross-sectional analysis of 26 countries over 50 years reveals that dominant religious denominations in society indeed influence state governance approaches regarding the issues of abortion and euthanasia. This denominational effect is shown to be contingent on the religiosity of a country’s population, but independent from the formal state–church relationship. Lastly, it is shown that the religious effect has an inverse U-shaped relationship with time, exposing the timeframe of analysis as decisive for inferences drawn in the study of morality policy.
This paper asks whether strong bureaucracies can effectively constrain the continuously growing stock of rules in modern democracies through organizational coordination and learning. To answer this question, the paper analyzes the growth of rule stocks in the areas of environmental policy and social policy in 23 OECD countries over the period between 1976 and 2005. To do so, it develops a new measure of rule growth based on the content of laws and regulations rather than their length. The analysis highlights that effective bureaucracies are indeed better able to contain rule growth in these areas than weak bureaucracies. Since rules have to be implemented, countries suffering from bureaucratic capacity and quality constraints thus appear to be stuck in an implementation deficit trap. Appropriate implementation is not only inherently more challenging for countries with weak public administrations, but the body of rules to be implemented also tends to grow quicker in these countries.
The regulatory regionalism approach has increasingly claimed that a new mode of regional governance is emerging globally. Regional policy regimes, developed in broad social and economic territorial areas, affect the internal transformation of the state. The authors plan to provide comprehensive empirical evidence about the emergence of worldwide regulatory regionalism by identifying how regulatory agencies have diffused very successfully within the regional level in recent decades. The paper aims to identify, using an original methodological design, the ways in which such diffusion of agencies occurred, as this may have theoretical relevance for the study of regulatory regionalism. The authors’ hypothesis suggests that transnational political interactions in each regional cluster triggered agency diffusion, contributing to the development of the regulatory state within the countries of each region. To test this hypothesis, the authors employed a data set of regulatory agencies including the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), and most Asian and Latin American countries (+59) from 1950 to 2007, for 15 sectors related to finance, risks, utility and competition. Bayesian data analysis was used to estimate the parameters of interest.