Bernardo Rangoni

The Experimentalist Future of Regulation: Digital and Pharmaceutical Regulation in the European Union

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For decades, strategies granting discretion to ‘lower-level actors’ to propose solutions themselves had become preferred to conventional command and control – the hierarchical imposition and enforcement of stable rules. Yet after the 2008 financial crisis, also these alternatives (e.g., principles-based regulation) are under pressure. Which strategy prevails today, and why? By comparing two crucial yet different cases, the article finds that, in both EU digital and pharmaceutical regulation, the dominant strategy is experimentalist. This emphasises not only discretion but also regular revisions based on review of implementation experience. It is driven by uncertainty about the best solutions, as perceived by the relevant actors. Since uncertainty pervades most contemporary policy challenges, the future of regulation and public policy more broadly is thus likely to be experimentalist


  • Command and control
  • Principles-based regulation
  • Experimentalist governance
  • Digital regulation
  • Pharmaceutical regulation


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