My research revolves around understanding how regulatory agencies set their priorities. Regulatory agencies balance technical risk analyses with analyses on public and political risk perceptions. These analyses combined help agencies to come to their priorities, which are necessary because – for example – regulators do not have unlimited resources to supervise everything. It is however hypothesized that certain conditions lead a regulatory agency to overemphasize certain stakes in the balance between risk calculations and risk perceptions. A side-effect is that regulators accept certain risks, whereas the public wants the regulator to intervene more strictly. Furthermore, inspectors may selectively ignore the priorities, because they (legitimately) disagree with them.
Using mixed methods I investigate under which conditions these prioritization procedures lead to satisfactory outcomes. I do this by investigating which prioritization procedures agencies have in place, for which goals, and under which conditions inspectors have trust in the resulting priorities. I further compare logics and goals from regulators with the discourse in the media and political debate.
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