Utilities in Europe
Edited by David Coen and Adrienne Héritier
Chapter 2: Developments in Regulatory Regimes: Comparison on Telecommunications, Energy and Rail
2. Developments in regulatory regimes: comparison of telecommunications, energy and rail Dominik Böllhoff INTRODUCTION Utility regulation is one outcome of the process of liberalisation and deregulation in the formerly nationalised industries. During the last 20 years, intensive changes have taken place to open utility sectors in telecommunications, rail and electricity, all of which were formerly run as state monopolies. While in the 1980s Britain initiated the denationalisation of network utilities in Europe, Germany started to deregulate the utilities sectors in the 1990s, mainly in line with legislation of the European Union. However, the marketisation in the utilities sector did not bring about the end of the state. As the sector has shifted from being dominated by monopolies to being more competitive, the state has been intensively involved via supervision, monitoring and/or enforcement procedures – summarised as ‘regulation’. With a shift from a positive to a regulatory state (Majone 1997), new regulatory regimes were put in place. These regimes are the outcome of the regulatory reforms of the state and state administration (OECD 1997). This chapter strives for a systematic and detailed descriptive comparison of regulatory regimes from a comparative administrative perspective. On the basis of analytical descriptions of the regimes, we reveal overall converging trends at both a cross-country and a cross-sector dimension. The general interest is in exploring the extent to which regulatory regimes show similar or dissimilar institutional designs. Do developments in the regimes show increasing similarities, leading to converging trends between sector regimes and countries? Or are...
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