Regulatory Institutions in N.A.

Regulatory Institutions in N.A.

G. BRUCE DOERN
STEPHEN WILKS
Copyright Date: 1998
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2tv27b
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  • Book Info
    Regulatory Institutions in N.A.
    Book Description:

    The world of regulatory institutions has been in a state of flux for the last two decades, and valuable lessons can be learned from a comparative focus on the nature and causes of institutional change and reform in the regulatory agencies and institutions of United States, Canada and Great Britain.

    The contributing authors, mainly political scientists and legal scholars but also practicing regulators, make the case for a much broader conceptual view of regulation; that it is increasingly necessary for key regulatory interests - business and consumers - to understand regulation in terms of an interplay among four regions: sectoral, framework, intra-cabinet and international. They also explore inter-regime regulatory institutional relations through case studies to demonstrate how regulatory institutions respond to competing regulatory requirements, and to tensions between sectoral utility regulators and competition and environmental regulators.

    Other key comparisons are drawn out, such as the independence and autonomy of regulators, implementation, economic governance and different paths towards reform. The essential contrast between the three nations studied shows that institutional change in the UK has been explicitly structural, and that a new "regulatory state" has been more openly and fully rediscovered in that country, while change within a federal structure such as exists in the US and Canada has tended to remain more intra-governmental.

    The book seeks to provide students of regulation with a work that focuses on the political and institutional that they can place alongside examinations of the economic and legal perspectives.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7918-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
    B.D. and S.W.
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-26)
    G. BRUCE DOERN and STEPHEN WILKS

    It is a timely point in history to undertake a conceptual and practical comparison of British and North American¹ regulatory institutions. In an era in which the United States has abolished the Interstate Commerce Commission, the first of its historic independent regulatory commissions, and in which the UK’s newly created utility regulators are a significant political issue, a comparison can be helpful and instructive. Canadian regulatory change is also under way, with radical changes occurring in the transportation and telecommunications sectors, but with institutional reconfiguration being propelled equally by technological change, by the realities of budgetary cutbacks and the search...

  5. Part One National Regulatory Institutional Change

    • 2 The Interplay among Regimes: Mapping Regulatory Institutions in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada
      (pp. 29-50)
      G. BRUCE DOERN

      Building on the overall comparative issues introduced in Chapter 1, this chapter focuses on a key analytical task if new ground is to be broken in Anglo-North American regulatory analysis, which is to develop a framework that can help map the modern nature of regulatory institutions. A basic map requires both a broadening of the conceptual scope of study and also, in some respects, a narrowing in order to re-till some of the old analytical soil. The broadening and the narrowing tasks are equally central to the realities faced by regulators and the regulated. The need to look ‘up and...

    • 3 Institutionalization and Deinstitutionalization: Regulatory Institutions in American Government
      (pp. 51-79)
      B. GUY PETERS

      Regulation and deregulation might not appear to be a likely locus for intense political debate. Much of the discussion of proposed regulations in the United States occurs in virtually incomprehensible statements in theFederal Register,and the results of the regulatory process are enshrined in the ‘legalese’ of theCode of Federal Regulations.Regulatory politics are, however, also described by some authors as ‘class warfare’ (Weaver 1978) and as attempts to create an impractical ‘zero-risk’ society (Schultze 1979). Critics of regulation have been able to create the image of meddling and inefficient government agencies imposing unreasonable costs on consumers (Weidenbaum...

    • 4 Regulatory Institutions in the United Kingdom: Increasing Regulation in the ‘Shrinking State’
      (pp. 80-107)
      BRIAN W. HOGWOOD

      Regulatory developments in Britain since 1979 have involved major institutional upheavals, reflecting both the consequences of the Conservative government’s push to privatization and technical and economic developments in markets (Bishop, Kay, and Mayer 1995; European Policy Forum 1996). This chapter sets these dramatic developments in the context of the traditional style regulation in Britain, and indicates the extent to which past models provided basis for new institutions. The chapter focuses particularly on what form regulatory institutions took and why.¹

      The issue of why regulatory bodies are set up in one administrative form rather than another and what the consequence of...

    • 5 No Longer ‘Governments in Miniature’: Canadian Sectoral Regulatory Institutions
      (pp. 108-130)
      RICHARD SCHULTZ and G. BRUCE DOERN

      This chapter examines the evolution of the core Canadian sectoral regulatory institutions in the transportation, energy, broadcasting, and telecommunications fields. It does so with a view to demonstrate both connections to and departures from developments in the United States. The essential analytical journey is one showing that, in the early twentieth century, Canadian and U.S. sectoral regulatory institutions were quite similar. Then, from the 1930s to about the end of the 1960s, a significant Canadian departure occurs. During this period the core Canadian sectoral regulators became virtual ‘governments in miniature,’ in that they were given broad ranges of functions, powers,...

  6. Part Two Influences on Reform:: Interests and Ideas

    • 6 Utility Regulation, Corporate Governance, and the Amoral Corporation
      (pp. 133-161)
      STEPHEN WILKS

      The British system of utility regulation should be assessed as a whole. This seems an unexceptional position to take, but in fact many evaluations of regulation in the UK concentrate on the regulators, the regulatory agencies, and regulatory policies as if they were the whole story. They take the companies as given. This is a myopic approach. Domestically the system of utility regulation has been designed to deal with a particular sort of company operating within a particular market setting. British plcs have a high degree of autonomy and respond sensitively to the financial markets as well as to their...

    • 7 Modelling the Consumer Interest
      (pp. 162-186)
      STEPHEN LOCKE

      Because we are all consumers, it is often tempting to think that consumer interests are easy to identify. Most people have plenty of personal experience on which to draw, and there is no shortage of strong views on what should be done to help consumers get a better deal. Compared with the many other aspects of utility regulation, such as risk analysis, investment appraisal, and pricing policy, the consumer dimension seems relatively benign. It is all too easily added on as an afterthought in the belief that information campaigns and revamped complaints systems should do the trick.

      Nothing could be...

    • 8 The Theory and Practice of Regulation in Canada and the United States: Opportunities for Regulatory Learning in the United Kingdom
      (pp. 187-217)
      MARGARET M. HILL

      The conventional wisdom is that the last decade has been marked by the introduction of a radically new and elaborate system of regulation in the UK. The growth of regulation is normally portrayed as part and parcel of the privatization of a number of previously nationalized sectors. This perspective is understandable, but it ignores the legacy of government regulation in Britain prior to the 1980s. In the eyes of a North American observer of regulation, what is happening in Britain in the mid-1990s is neither new, nor surprising. Accordingly, what we are witnessing is the more definitiverecognitionof a...

    • 9 Resurgent Regulation in the United States
      (pp. 218-235)
      JOHN FRANCIS

      This chapter explores an apparent paradox in recent American politics: this is an era of deregulation, yet at the same time new regulatory regimes continue to form (Ayres and Braithwaite 1992; Harris and Milkis 1989). The paradox is in fact apparent on both sides of the Atlantic. In the 1980s, as the British state withdrew from the direct ownership of important sectors of the economy through privatization, the state began to create (and continues to create) a series of regulatory regimes (Baldwin 1995; Vass 1994; Veljanovski 1991). Calls for deregulation in the United States have been juxtaposed with extensive new...

    • 10 Regulatory Reform and Relations among Multiple Authorities in the United Kingdom
      (pp. 236-260)
      PETER VASS

      The regulation of privatized network industries and utilities in the UK is a complex and controversial process.¹ The regulated sectors have different characteristics, different interests are affected by the regulatory processes adopted, and position of the regulators themselves is different from the traditional structure of accountabilities that operated with respect to nationalized industries and public corporations. In addition, a sophisticated system of incentive regulation has been created that operates on a dynamic, transitional path, and relies on regulatory discretion, flexibility, and balanced judgments. This system is susceptible to political manipulation by interest groups, which are able to exploit public expectations,...

  7. Part Three Sectoral versus Framework Regulators:: Converging andColliding Regimes

    • 11 Approaches to Managing Interdependence among Regulatory Regimes in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States
      (pp. 263-281)
      G. BRUCE DOERN

      This chapter examines key institutional approaches to managing interdependence among regulatory regimes, in particular between competition regulators and sectoral utility regulators in the telecommunications sector. Accordingly, it takes up one of the thematic conclusions reached in both Chapter 2 and the analysis of UK regulatory institutions by Hogwood in Chapter 5. The examination in this chapter looks at the core institutional approaches of the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, but with some reference to the the European Union as well (Wilks 1996; Wilks and McGowan 1996; Scott 1996).

      As previous chapters have shown, the insitutional relationships between competition...

    • 12 The Office of Water Services and the Interaction between Economic and Environmental Regulation
      (pp. 282-304)
      ALAN BOOKER

      In the UK, prior to 1989, when the water and sewerage services were privatized, the interaction between economic and environmental regulation was hidden from view. The former regional water authorities were both regulators and operators (Maloney and Richardson 1996). They enjoyed substantial autonomy in defining and financing their statutory functions. Government influence over water charges was maintained through the application of financial constraints on the authorities, such as external finance limits and a target current cost return on assets. This chapter examines the regulatory arrangements that were established at the time of privatization and how they have developed since then....

    • 13 North American Environmental Regulation
      (pp. 305-327)
      GEORGE HOBERG

      While they have broad similarities in policy approaches, the regimes for environmental regulation in Canada and the United States are significantly different.¹ The root of these differences lies in the larger macro-political systems in which each country’s regime is embedded. The U.S. constitutional system of separation of powers and of checks and balances has spawned a highly distinctive regulatory regime that is exceptionally formal, open, adversarial, and legalistic. In contrast, the Canadian Westminster parliamentary system has fostered a more informal and cooperative approach to regulation. While both countries are federations, Canada’s is significantly more decentralized, a phenomenon that is clearly...

    • 14 The Office of Telecommunications: A New Competition Authority?
      (pp. 328-353)
      COSMO GRAHAM

      Telecommunications is today one of the most dynamic industries in the UK, and one that has changed dramatically over a comparatively short space of time.¹ When British Telecommunications (BT) was privatized in 1984 it was by far the dominant player in the industry. There was only one competitor, Mercury Communications, whose business was in its infancy, and cable companies and mobile telephony were just beginning. By 1996 there were 17 licensed fixed-link operators, 107 cable companies that could provide phone services and many of which do, 2 cellular mobile telephone networks, and 2 non-cellular mobile telephone networks, as well as...

    • 15 The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission: Transformation in the 1990s
      (pp. 354-375)
      G. BRUCE DOERN

      The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is one of the most important of Canada’s federal regulatory bodies, but it is remarkable how little analysis there is of the CRTC as a regulatory institution per se. Books on its predecessor bodies and its early years are a valuable base (Peers 1969; Stewart and Hull 1994), and there are other articles that deal with selected aspects of the CRTC or of telecommunications and broadcasting policy more generally (Tardi 1981; Scott 1990; Conklin 1991; Schultz 1983, 1994; Globerman, Stanbury, and Wilson 1995; Raboy 1995a; 1995b). However, a somewhat more holistic institutional look...

    • 16 Conclusions
      (pp. 376-396)
      STEPHEN WILKS and G. BRUCE DOERN

      This is a book about regulatory institutions, one to set alongside those that deal with the theories of economic regulation and of legal form. In our introductory chapter we focused on four ways in which we believe this collection advances regulatory institutional analysis. First, we made the case for a much broader conceptual definition of regulation if it is to accommodate comparative analysis in a more complete way. Second, we argued the need to examine regulatory institutional change in the context of an interplay among four regulatory regimes: sectoral, framework, the regime for managing regulation within the state, and international....

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 397-399)