Political scientists have been debating the question of whether global factors promote convergence, divergence or stability in regulatory policies and outcomes. In the age of a hyper-connected world, it is natural to conjecture that, for food safety regulations, countries would adopt international regulation and regulatory practices, in order to promote trade and expand income sources.
However, the debate risks over-simplification if the discussion stops at this point. National interests are multifaceted, meaning that government agencies cannot be guided by one set of interests only. The developmental needs of various sectors cannot be tackled by one approach. To build on existing theories of regulation, I explore the dynamics of China’s food safety regulation in practice, which has implications for this widely debated question. Continue reading