The theory of institutional choice attempts to identify the conditions under which a particular set of institutional arrangements may arise, and how those arrangements change with changes in environmental and human factors. This paper is primarily concerned with the role played by cognitive factors in the development of regulatory policies and incurrent debates about regulatory reform. It is argued that given the uncertainty of the scientific basis of regulation and the idiosyncratic character of many regulatory problems neither market nor bureaucratic forms of control offer generally acceptable solutions. A mode of control relying more on self-regulation and professional advice is proposed as an institutional alternative deserving careful analysis
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