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Public intervention in private rule-making: the role of the European Commission in industry standardization

Meyer, Niclas (2012) Public intervention in private rule-making: the role of the European Commission in industry standardization. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

The thesis investigates the role of public actors in private rule-making processes at the example of the European Commission’s interventions in private industry standardization in the mobile telecoms, high-definition television, digital broadcasting and intermodal transport industries. It demonstrates that, far from having replaced public rule-making or representing a form of ‘better’ regulation, the private development of technical standards is constrained by the same collective action and decision-making problems that constrain conventional policy-making processes. Without the facilitating interventions of public actors, private standard setters often struggle to overcome these constraints. The ability of public actors to facilitate the private development of technical standards, however, depends on a number of conditions. First they need to rely on entrepreneurial rather than conventional policy instruments based on hierarchical authority and the power of hard law. Hierarchical interventions—in addition to the well-known information problems—only tend to have the unintended effect of exposing technical standardization processes to political contestation, exacerbating the inherent decision-making problems. Entrepreneurial interventions, by contrast, may facilitate the private development of technical standards without exposing the standardization process to political contestation. While such interventions may raise serious legitimacy concerns, they also depend on a number of conditions, such as early intervention, the presence of industry crisis, and the availability of positive feedback mechanisms that drive compliance with the developed standards. With its focus on technical standardization, this thesis seeks to contribute to wider debates on self– and co–regulation and the transforming role of government in the governance of advanced market economies more broadly.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Niclas Meyer
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Supervisor: Chalmers, Damian and Schelkle, Waltraud
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/236

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