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Deregulation and its Discontents

Rewriting the Rules in Asia

Edited by M. Ramesh and Michael Howlett

Deregulation and its Discontents examines the different ways in which the issues related to deregulation and reregulation have been addressed in Asia. The role of government in business has gone through distinct, if overlapping, cycles: regulation, deregulation and reregulation. However, little is known about deregulation and even less about reregulation, particularly in relation to Asia. The contributors to this book examine the links between the cycles through detvailed analyses of the electricity market, pensions and stock markets in the Asia Pacific. They also offer an explanation of regulatory cycles.
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Chapter 12: Conclusion: The De/Reregulatory Cycle: Learning and Spill-over Effects in Regulatory Policy-Making

Michael Howlett


Michael Howlett The chapters in this book show that as in North America and Europe, regulatory regimes in the Asia Pacific region have evolved gradually, emerging in response to the turbulence caused by industrialization and the growth of unfettered market capitalism (Eisner 1993, 1994a and 1994b). Its development, in fact, is co-terminus with that of the enhancement of the bureaucratic capacity of the modern state (Hodgetts 1964; Skowronek 1982). As an inexpensive and plentiful source of government control, it was often invoked by governments eager to reduce their direct government agencylevel involvement in ongoing monitoring and enforcement of government policies. Although regulation was often opposed by industry and many professional economists as promoting inefficiency, it was generally accepted in mainstream policy circles as essential for addressing market imperfections and dealing with the uncertainties of modern economic and social life. It is only recently that a broad body of opinion emerged which regards regulations as often inefficient and burdensome for the state itself (Cheung 2005). Subscribers to this point of view particularly dwell on the pervasive impact of globalization which they believe has not only undermined the need for regulations due to overwhelming market pressures but also eroded governments’ capacity to enforce them against increasingly mobile capital (for a review of this literature, see Kahler 2004). Lack of convincing empirical evidence to support this view has not weakened subscription to it or its acceptance in policy circles. The chapters in this volume, however, show that the expansion of reservations and even...

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