N-EXTLAW Working Paper: Experimental Regulation for Social Innovations


N-EXTLAW’s Marlie Janssens has written a working paper on ‘Experimental Regulation for Social Innovations’ as part of the N-EXTLAW Working Paper Series.

In this working paper, Marlie argues that experimental regulation could offer a solution to unnecessary obstructions for social innovations by providing a more flexible legal framework that fosters innovation and stimulates social practices.

After introducing two different types of regulatory experiments and providing a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of experimental regulation, Marlie proposes to introduce a change in policy through a public vision statement, providing awareness and an incentive for local authorities. She also suggests that the scope of the experimental provision of the Chw is broadened to include social innovations, regulatory sandboxes are created to collaborate with social innovations, and counters are established to provide support.

Below is the abstract for the paper and link to the entire text. Make sure to give it a read!

Experimental Regulation for Social Innovations

Marlie Janssens

N-EXTLAW Working Paper Series, no. 1 (2/2022)

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Abstract: The current economic model is damaging the social and environmental resources it relies on. This extractive model is structured by a legal system which overly focuses on economic growth instead of social and sustainable purposes. Where a legal system is based on competition and controlling organizations driven by short-term profits, organizations which tend to pursue positive contributions in the long-term experience obstructions. This paper takes social innovations as a starting point and explores how unnecessary regulatory burdens can be removed for this type of social innovation through experimental regulation.
Currently, various experimental regulations already exist in Dutch law, but often with the purpose of stimulating technological innovation.  In this paper, the focus lies on developing legal experiments that stimulate social innovation. As such, existing experimental regulations that support technological innovation are taken as a starting point, with the aim of broadening their scope to include social innovation. First, in section 2, two types of regulatory experiments and their functions will be discussed. This section will demonstrate the idea of experimental regulation for fostering technological innovation and provide a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of experimental regulation. In this context, it is relevant to take a closer look at the methodology of experimental legal regimes. Section 3 then argues to broaden experimental regulation to social innovations and shows how this relates to existing experimental regulation, with its advantages and disadvantages. The section also consists of other suggestions for stimulating social innovations.

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