GOBAREG studies the conditions for legitimate goal-based regulation in a hybrid multi-actor regulatory regime

Complex societal issues such as climate change, technological developments, or the COVID-19 crisis trigger demands for more flexible regulations. Supra-national and Belgian national, regional and local authorities are calling for regulatory innovation and particularly regulation based on goals as a way to guarantee and increase the legitimacy of regulations. Despite a broad acclaim for GBR, the scientific work on GBR remains largely theoretical and conjectural. Conceptually founded and empirically validated knowledge is still lacking. Therefore, the GOBAREG project studies the conditions and context under which GBR can be included, designed and implemented legitimately and achieve its expected outcomes in a hybrid multi-actor regulatory regime. More precisely, GOBAREG will examine the role of rule design, stakeholder involvement and regulatory supervision as conditions for legitimate GBR, as well as investigate context factors (sector features, regulatee features, and trust dynamics) and the expected GBR outcomes. The objectives of the project are to (1) analyse the evolution
towards GBR, (2) assess the impact of the evolution towards GBR on the behaviour of individual actors, and (3) understand under which combined set of conditions and context factors GBR can maximise its legitimacy and realise its expected outcomes. GOBAREG applies an innovative interdisciplinary, mixed-method design, including systematic mapping, behavioural experiments and large-scale field experiments, and studies two in-depth case studies of social regulation (sectors environment and welfare in Flanders). In doing so, GOBAREG pushes theoretical, methodological and empirical boundaries, while increasing GBR’s validity. Through co-creation, GOBAREG will maximise its utilisation potential by developing innovative GBR solutions matched to the needs of societal users.

The project will run until the end of September 2027 and will be carried out with the support of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO-SBO).