Global Asia

The IIAS Centre for Regulation and Governance is the first European research centre devoted to the study of regulation and governance in Asia. The Centre engages in innovative and comparative research on the theories and practices of regulation and governance. Focusing on emerging markets of Asia such as China, India, South Korea, and Indonesia, the Centre serves as a focal point of collaborative research between European and Asian scholars. It emphasises multidisciplinarity in its research undertakings which combine approaches from political economy, law, public administration, criminology, and sociology in the comparative analysis of regulatory issues in Asia and in developing theories of governance pertinent to Asian realities.

From the outset, the rising influence of Asia has necessitated an in-depth understanding of the way Asian societies and markets are regulated and governed. After several decades of rapid economic growth, many emerging markets in Asia are striving to establish effective regulation of social and market activities in order to safeguard public interests. They face the challenging tasks of establishing as well as adapting regulatory institutions and governance mechanisms that suit their contexts and circumstances. In particular, these regulatory institutions work in societies governed by a fragmented state structure, with a legal system where formal rules often play a secondary role to informal norms and practices, and with a hybrid market economy that defies a public-private distinction. Furthermore, most of them have experienced rapid societal transformation which requires constant adjustment of their ruling structures. Under these circumstances, major challenges to effective governance abound. Regulatory failures have resulted in rapid environmental deterioration, unsafe and deplorable working conditions, the production of sub-standard consumer products, absence of food safety, volatile financial markets, corruption, and rent seeking. With the advent of globalization, regulatory failures of individual countries have now assumed a global effect. Comparative research on these problems is therefore timely and necessary.

So far current theories about regulation and governance have been of limited use in Asia, as they were largely derived from case studies conducted in developed countries in the West, whose applicability to the special context of emerging markets remains unexplored while specialised theories remain underdeveloped. The Centre undertakes this challenge to advance new theoretical understandings and to offer a forum of exchange for academics and practitioners in their study and practice of regulation in Asia.