Refining Regulatory Regimes

Refining Regulatory Regimes

Utilities in Europe

Edited by David Coen and Adrienne Héritier

With regulation seeking to foster competition at the same time as also having to protect essential services, the authors investigate regulatory styles, costs of new regulatory functions and how firms in the new regulatory landscape access and influence regulatory authorities. The authors consider how EU pressures may hinder or help the functioning of new regulatory markets and the establishment of business–regulator relationships, as well as the broader policy implications for these new regulatory environments. The book also determines how regulatory authorities emerge and evolve under different state traditions and assesses, over time, the degree to which there is potential for convergence, divergence and continued differences as regulatory functions mature.

Chapter 1: Introduction: Redefining and Refining Regulation

David Coen

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial organisation, politics and public policy, public policy


David Coen INTRODUCTION As European states move away from public ownership a new method of political control over public utilities is emerging. In the 1990s, member states of the European Union gradually liberalised their utility sectors and new ‘regulatory states’ emerged to govern the natural monopoly aspects (Majone 1997; Moran and Prosser 1994). However, the style of political delegation to regulatory authorities has not followed a uniform trajectory, rather institutional endowments, administrative traditions, market structure and business culture have all influenced the creation of regulatory authorities and the form of implementation (Eberlein 2000; Thatcher 2001). Although we note the variance between governments in the formal delegation of powers to national regulatory authorities, the chief focus of this book is on the postdelegation period; that is, how the regulatory regimes monitor their day-to-day objectives, and how they are redefined by institutional, business and legal interactions. We address these questions from a multiple institutional and multiple level perspective looking at how different national regulatory traditions, institutional endowments, and European Union (EU) pressures hinder or help the functioning of new regulatory markets. Specifically, this book considers the impact of liberalisation and the introduction of new regulatory structures on three utility sectors in the UK and Germany: telecommunications, energy and rail. With regulation seeking to foster competition while at the same time protecting essential services, we investigate regulatory styles (Böllhoff), costs of ‘new’ regulatory functions (Bauer), how regulatees (firms) in the new regulatory landscapes access and influence regulatory authorities (Coen and Héritier)...