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Uncertainty and experimentalist policymaking in internal market regulation by the European Commission: cases on electricity and gas policy

Rangoni, Bernardo (2016) Uncertainty and experimentalist policymaking in internal market regulation by the European Commission: cases on electricity and gas policy. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.qyodoaihtvz4

Abstract

Although the new architecture of experimentalist governance has been influential in academic scholarship as well as in policy debates over the last two decades, its actual impact on policymaking is still largely unclear. Specifically, questions about whether, under what conditions and how it influences policymaking processes remain largely unsolved. Without an adequate analysis of experimentalist policymaking, the current scholarship confines our understanding to the diffusion of experimentalist architectures, ultimately resulting in a poor understanding of their effects on policymaking processes. Thus, this thesis seeks to contribute to closing the knowledge gap by identifying conditions in which the Commission engages in experimentalist policymaking. To this end, it makes a number of inductive claims by further developing arguments found in experimentalist and shadow of hierarchy theories and using empirical analysis to follow them through. It studies the case of European Union energy regulation from the beginning of its liberalization and re-regulation in the late 1990s to the present day. The central argument of the thesis is that, when the Commission finds itself in conditions of greater uncertainty, even though the shadow of hierarchy is weaker or the distribution of power is less polyarchic, it engages in experimentalist policymaking by granting discretion to Member States and/or regulated companies to pursue common goals through distinct means, stimulating the comparison of their approaches and providing a basis for agreements on reforms to be developed with high stakeholder participation. Besides extending empirical research on EU energy regulation and contributing to the literature on modes of regulation, this thesis contributes to advancing the study of experimentalist governance in a number of respects. First, it clearly distinguishes experimentalist and hierarchical institutional architectures from policymaking processes by developing a set of indicators which are widely applicable. Second, by identifying patterns of policymaking that are not based on polyarchy, shadow of hierarchy, time or sector, but rather, are consistent with uncertainty, it suggests that uncertainty is an individually sufficient condition for experimentalist policymaking. More broadly, by identifying patterns of policymaking that are not based on specific institutional architectures, it shows that the type of policymaking can vary even if institutional architectures do not change, and hence warns scholars of the need to look beyond institutional design to the ways in which decision-making actually occurs.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Bernardo Rangoni
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anthropology, International History, Art History Studies
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Thatcher, Mark
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3586

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