Regulatory capitalism—a social, political, and economic order characterized by a proliferation of both markets and state and nonstate attempts to regulate markets and business conduct—creates the opportunity for theoretically and politically significant research on compliance. The plural and decentered nature of regulation, and therefore of compliance, in regulatory capitalism creates significant complexity and difficulty for social scientists in the conceptual definition and operationalization of regulatory compliance, however. We survey the different ways in which empirical researchers have studied business compliance with regulation, and their strengths and weaknesses. In doing so, we review and interrogate the literature on regulatory compliance to understand what it is that researchers study when we study business compliance with regulation, and what we might have been missing or assuming.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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