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Delegation in the Regulatory State

Independent Regulatory Agencies in Western Europe Fabrizio Gilardi, Associate Professor of Political Science, Institute of Political Science and Center for Comparative and International Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland
During the past 25 years, independent regulatory agencies have become widespread institutions for regulatory governance. This book studies how they have diffused across Europe and compares their formal independence in 17 countries and seven sectors. Through a series of quantitative analyses, it finds that governments tend to be more prone to delegate powers to independent regulators when they need to increase the credibility of their regulatory commitments and when they attempt to tie the hands of their successors. The institutional context also matters: political institutions that make policy change more difficult are functional equivalents of delegation. In addition to these factors, emulation has driven the diffusion of independent regulators, which have become socially valued institutions that help policymakers legitimize their actions, and may even have become taken for granted as the appropriate way to organize regulatory policies.
Extent: 200 pp
Hardback Price: $127.00 Web: $114.30
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 978 1 84720 447 9
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $56.00 Web: $44.80
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 978 1 84844 812 4
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Public Sector Economics
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Policy
  • Regulation and Governance
During the past 25 years, independent regulatory agencies have become widespread institutions for regulatory governance. This book studies how they have diffused across Europe and compares their formal independence in 17 countries and seven sectors. Through a series of quantitative analyses, it finds that governments tend to be more prone to delegate powers to independent regulators when they need to increase the credibility of their regulatory commitments and when they attempt to tie the hands of their successors. The institutional context also matters: political institutions that make policy change more difficult are functional equivalents of delegation. In addition to these factors, emulation has driven the diffusion of independent regulators, which have become socially valued institutions that help policymakers legitimize their actions, and may even have become taken for granted as the appropriate way to organize regulatory policies.

Providing a broad comparison of independent regulatory agencies in Europe, Delegation in the Regulatory State will be of great interest to researchers and students in political science, public policy, and public administration.
‘. . . it is thanks to works like this one that we can make progress in the understanding of the phenomenon of independent regulatory authorities in Europe and elsewhere.’
– Competition and Regulation in Network Industries

‘When scholars and practitioners want to understand regulation in Europe, this book should be the first place they will turn. Combining innovative data, smart statistical analysis, and an in-depth knowledge of regulatory agencies and processes across a wide range of countries, Gilardi has produced an essential study of regulation and a stellar piece of scholarship.’
– Charles Shipan, University of Michigan, US

‘This is a crucial, important book for the study of independent regulatory agencies, an increasingly prevalent institution at the heart of the governance of markets. Gilardi offers an excellent quantitative analysis of the spread of such agencies. He presents a remarkable dataset and rigourously tests different explanations. His coverage is wide and his methods are first class. His conclusions will interest all scholars who work on the regulatory state.’
– Mark Thatcher, London School of Economics, UK

‘Regulatory agencies are an important aspect of the contemporary regulatory state. Drawing on an extensive body of comparative analysis, Fabrizio Gilardi’s book provides a serious contribution that moves the literature forward. This book deserves to be considered carefully.’
– Martin Lodge, London School of Economics, UK

‘Fabrizio Gilardi’s book is empirical political science of the regulatory state at its best. It has data of transnational breadth and depth that is diagnosed in a theoretically sophisticated way. The conclusion is that policymakers delegate in order to tighten the credibility of policy commitments and to tie the hands of future ministers who may have different preferences. This will become a building block for future scholarship on regulation and governance.’
– John Braithwaite, Australian National University
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction 2. The Institutional Foundations of the Regulatory State 3. Delegation to Independent Regulatory Agencies: Credibility, Political Uncertainty, and Veto Players 4. The Formal Independence of Regulators: Empirical Analysis 5. Interdependent Delegation: The Diffusion of Independent Regulators Agencies 6. The Diffusion of Independent Regulatory Agencies: Empirical Analysis 7. Conclusion 8. Appendixes Bibliography Index