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The independence of regulatory agencies in practice: The case of telecommunications regulators in the United Kingdom and France.

Dasgupta, Paolo Subrato (2009) The independence of regulatory agencies in practice: The case of telecommunications regulators in the United Kingdom and France. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The PhD thesis examines the independence in practice of telecommunications regulatory agencies in France and the UK. It builds on existing literature, which has selectively focussed on formal delegation and institutional design of 'independent' regulators, in particular, on the statutory provisions defining their formal resources and formal constraints. This thesis' central research question is whether the independence of regulatory agencies in practice reflects their formal independence. The thesis aims to explain whether and how factors other than different formal institutional arrangements influence the policy-making of the two agencies examined. It develops and applies an analytical framework for studying whether and how regulatory agencies exploit, or are hindered by, formal and informal policy resources. Building on Nordlinger's work on state autonomy, which is defined as translating preferences into action, five non-formal indicators are proposed to assess the independence of regulators in practice. Participants and resources, preferences, processes, time-length of decision-making, and outcomes, are the indicators applied to selected subcases that help to evaluate the autonomy of the two telecommunications regulators, the Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications (ART) and the Office of Telecommunications (Oftel). The findings counsel a comprehensive review of the conceptualisation of regulatory independence. The thesis shows that policy preferences guide whether and how formal institutional arrangements are used. The preference convergence and/or divergence that regulators face shape which policy resources will be deployed in support of, or in opposition to, the agencies as they pursue their policy preferences. Three of the four sub-cases relating to 3G licensing and local loop unbundling (LLU) policies developed by the two regulators show that to achieve preferences persuasion was applied more than imposition. Only in one sub-case, the French regulator actively sought to use formal resources as well as non-statutory ones. Crucially, the thesis shows the significance of non-statutory resources such as policy expertise, informal ties and 'physical' assets for the regulators and other policy participants to pursue their preferences notwithstanding national formal arrangements.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, Public Administration
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Government

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