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Implementing regulatory reforms in multi-level governance systems: the case of the reform of the water sector in Italy (1994-2006)

Asquer, Alberto (2012) Implementing regulatory reforms in multi-level governance systems: the case of the reform of the water sector in Italy (1994-2006). PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Within the field of regulation policy and politics, various scholarly works have examined policy reforms intended to change the regulation of large-scale infrastructure-based public service industries. Relatively little attention has been placed, however, on the jagged and ineffectual implementation of regulatory reforms that especially takes place when the implementation context includes features of a multi-level governance system. For reasons especially related to the technical, economic, and territorial characteristics of infrastructure and sub-national governments' political responsibilities towards local communities, within this type of scenario the implementation of regulatory reforms tends to exhibit high levels of political confrontation between actors of the reformed infrastructure industry, with respect to what is ordinarily experienced when a regulatory reform is implemented by public agencies or any body of the executive at the central level. This thesis aims to contribute furthering our understanding of the political economy of implementing regulatory reforms by conducting an exploratory case study whose episode is the implementation stage of the 12 year long (1994-2006) policy cycle to liberalise, re-regulate, and privatise Italy’s (drinking water and waste) water sector. The main explanatory issues at stake relate to why the implementation trajectory changed over time (i.e., a period of obstructed implementation was followed by one of accelerated execution of the policy reform content) and across space (i.e., implementation progressed faster in Alto Valdarno in Tuscany than elsewhere in the country). The analysis of the case is conducted by following two alternative theoretical approaches in turn, namely institutional rational choice and institutional processualism. Answers to these questions provide some evidence for qualifying existing generalised arguments about the policy. process of implementing regulatory reforms and for assessing the relative strengths and weaknesses of alternative theoretical perspectives.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Alberto Asquer
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Barzelay, Michael

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