Regulatory reform as risk management : why governments redesign micro company legal obligations

Kitching, John (2019) Regulatory reform as risk management : why governments redesign micro company legal obligations. International Small Business Journal, 37(4), pp. 395-416. ISSN (print) 0266-2426


This article contributes to the literature on small business and regulation by presenting and testing a comprehensive framework for explaining government motivations to implement regulatory reform targeting micro companies as beneficiaries. Following Haines, I adopt an alternative approach to the conventional market failure or equity rationales to explain government reform. Reform initiatives are conceptualised in terms of the management of three types of risk – actuarial, sociocultural and political. Combining a critical discourse analysis with an argumentative approach to policy analysis of documentary sources relevant to the Small Companies (Micro-Entities’ Accounts) Regulations 2013, I propose three contributions to the literature. First, reform policies are prompted by diverse risk concerns; they cannot be explained solely in terms of addressing market failure or equity considerations alone. Second, regulatory reform might, in certain circumstances, be better explained as a strategy for managing political and sociocultural risk rather than the actuarial risks that policymakers use explicitly to justify government action. Third, reforms might be motivated more by political and sociocultural risk where the legal change implemented is minimal, where robust research evidence to support the reform is limited or non-existent, or where the issue is of low salience to business owners themselves.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page