EmPr Valerie Braithwaite


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Valerie Braithwaite is an interdisciplinary social scientist with a disciplinary background in psychology. She has taught in social and clinical psychology programs at undergraduate and graduate level, and has held research appointments in gerontology in the NH&MRC Social Psychiatry Research Unit and in the Administration, Compliance and Governability Project in the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU. In 1988-89, she was Associate Director in the Research School of Social Sciences, from 1989-2005 Director of the Centre for Tax System Integrity, and from 2006-2008 Head of the Regulatory Institutions Network in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies.

Currently, Valerie Braithwaite holds a professorial appointment in the Regulatory Institutions Network where she studies psychological processes in regulation and governance. The main themes are:
(a) identifying institutional practices that generate defiance, undermining the individual's capacity and willingness to cooperate in core facets of social life from family and school to work and governance. Of primary interest are practices that fail to respect social values, challenge the stress and coping capabilities of individuals, induce poor shame management skills, and frustrate basic needs;
(b) demonstrating how social relationships facilitate the engagement of individuals in institutional life. This work focuses on building trust, recognizing shared social values, generating hope and institutionalizing dialogue and generosity.

She regularly runs workshops and provides briefings on the adoption of responsive regulatory models by government agencies. Valerie Braithwaite is currently a member of the National Skills Standards Council.

Recently, Valerie Braithwaite has been focussing her efforts on open source publications of immediate practical use to policy makers and community workers. Her most recent publications in this area include: a synthesis of responsive regulation approaches used by regulatory bodies across the globe, co-authored with Mary Ivec; and, with Sharynne Hamilton, a charter of rights for families in out of home care, and a sorely-needed exposition of the perspectives of community workers in child protection. These are available from the Regnet website & her personal website (listed below).


Researcher's projects

Trust and Hope in the Democracy Project

This project examines the role of trust and hope in governance. The central hypothesis is that trust and hope build social capacity and enable cooperation. At the heart of the project is motivational posturing theory. Motivational posturing theory explains responses to government authority of disengagement, game playing, resistance, capitulation and commitment as ways of dealing with the sacrifice of individual freedom. Between 1999 and 2005, these issues were addressed within the context of taxation: What makes people accept the obligation to pay tax even when it is possible to evade or avoid payment? (http://ctsi.anu.edu.au)

School and Workplace Bullying Prevention Projects

These projects have been undertaken in collaboration with Eliza Ahmed, Brenda Morrison, Helene Shin and Jacqueline Homel. Central to this work has been the idea of shame management. Bullying is shown to be associated with an inability to manage shame well because of personal circumstance or a threatening environment. Shame occurs when people do not live up to expectations of themselves or others in terms of competence or moral behaviour.

Capacity Building in Child Protection Project

This project is supported by an ARC Linkage grant with Nathan Harris, Dorothy Scott, Morag McArthur and the ACT Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services. The overall objective is to demonstrate how safety for children can be improved and care capacity in the child's local community can be more effectively harnessed through a responsive regulatory approach.

Tax System Integrity Project

Taxation has been cocooned for too long as an inevitable and resented instrumentality of government. Australians are acutely aware of what tax dollars deliver. They also are very clear about how government should spend taxpayers’ money and are not unwilling or unable to reflect on community interests. When confidence is lost in the system, however, taxpayers bow out of being a collective player and disengage. Resources permitting, disillusionment may turn into game playing in an attempt to beat the system at its own game. A thriving financial planning industry is able to push game playing along, giving tax defiance a safer avenue for expression. These are among the main findings of the Centre for Tax System Integrity (CTSI), funded from 1999-2005 by an ANU-ATO research partnership. http://ctsi.anu.edu.au


BA Hons (Class I) (University of Queensland), PhD (University of Queensland)

Expertise Areas

  • Public Administration
  • Public Policy
  • Social Policy
  • Australian Government and Politics
  • Citizenship
  • Social and Community Psychology
  • Law and Society


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Network (past 5 years)

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