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Does the organizational autonomy of regulatory agencies affect their position and power in multilevel regulatory arrangement?

By Joery Matthys, K. Verhoest, David Aubin, Emmanuelle Mathieu, K. Ingold and "7th Annual Work Conference of the Netherlands Institute of Government"


In the post‐liberalization era, regulation of network utilities has often been entrusted to independent regulatory agencies (or IRA’s), which have since become one of the main institutional features of the rising regulatory state (Gilardi 2002). These institutions, however, do not exist in a regulatory vacuum: they operate in a context of a wider set of authorities with general or sector‐based regulatory competencies. As in most sectors, the regulatory tasks – comprised of rule implementation and standard setting, licensing, monitoring and enforcement (Hood et al. 2001) – are distributed or shared among several public actors. This network of public actors can be seen to form a regulatory constellation or arrangement. Sector‐specific regulatory agencies are but one component of this regulatory arrangement, which can have different features depending on the country and/or sector analyzed. This paper explores to what extent and in what way the autonomy of independent regulatory agencies towards government relates t the regulatory power and position of these agencies in the broader regulatory arrangement. A sector‐specific IRA has a strong regulatory position and power when (1) it can take most or all decisions on sector‐related regulatory issues, independently from influence from external actors (i.e. formal position and regulatory power), and (2) when the IRA is perceived by all relevant actors (regulatees and other regulatory bodies involved in the regulation of a sector) to be the most central, important and influential actor for the regulation of the market at stake (i.e. perceived position and regulatory power)

Year: 2010
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Provided by: DIAL UCLouvain
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