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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

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Do crises help remedy regulatory failure? A comparative study of the Walkerton water and Jerusalem banquet hall disasters

Schwartz, R. and McConnell, Allan (2009) Do crises help remedy regulatory failure? A comparative study of the Walkerton water and Jerusalem banquet hall disasters. Canadian Public Administration, 52 (1). pp. 91-112. ISSN 0008-4840

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Abstract

This study explores whether and how policy changes in the aftermath of a crisis. The authors ask why pre-existing regulatory regimes that are identified as contributory factors to "failure" are not necessarily reformed in the wake of a crisis. The investigation adds to the literature that addresses the classic tension between reformism and conservatism in post-crisis periods. Regulatory failure is identified as being largely responsible for two crises - the tainted drinking-water tragedy in Walkerton, Canada, and the collapse of a banquet hall in Jerusalem, Israel. Despite similarities in the nature of media coverage, institutional procedures for investigation and commission findings, these two tragedies differ dramatically in policy change outcomes. A policy streams prism is used to identify, characterize and analyse reasons for very different policy responses to crises associated with regulatory failure.