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Keywords:

  • H41;
  • H72;
  • L51;
  • Q50
  • fire safety;
  • India;
  • regulation

Abstract

This paper considers the effectiveness of fire safety regulation in Delhi, India. Ten theories are summarised that are used to explain why regulation does or does not work, or why fires might increase. Can imperfect markets generate institutions outside of the political process that produce reasonable results despite challenges of poverty, rising population density, social chaos, widespread corruption and non-compliance with rules? In Delhi, city fire departments, albeit hampered by dysfunctional or non-existent regulation, along with social and individual incentives provided by markets, have produced a relatively high level of safety.