If You Cannot Beat Them, Make Them Join You: The Risks of Capture in Portuguese Regulatory Agencies
The rise of the regulatory state (Levi-Faur 2005) led to the global diffusion of independent regulatory agencies – IRAs – (Jordana et al. 2018) which are expected to operate at arm's length from politicians and the regulated businesses (Majone 1997; Thatcher 2002). Diffused across different geographies, sectors, varieties of capitalism, and administrative and political traditions, IRAs became an institutional norm of regulation. However, several crises have questioned their performance and raised concerns over industry capture and politicization (Lodge and Mennicken 2014). This thesis tackles these issues through five questions: i) To what extent are IRAs shielded from capture at the de jure and de facto levels? ii) Have IRAs experienced any changes in independence over the years? iii) In which direction has institutional change moved? iv) Which inputs have contributed to that change? v) Are there sectors that are more likely to be captured than others? The thesis adopts a cross-sectorial and diachronic with-in case study approach, in seeking to understand how eleven Portuguese IRAs in key economic sectors evolved overtime on what concerns their legal and de facto independence vis-à-vis the external stakeholders. Empirically, the study finds that the agencies are subject to a variety of political and industry influences that are exerted through different forms. At the formal level, the regulatory state as a whole and the IRAs, in particular, have shown inconsistencies and shortcomings that can render them fragile. Moreover, the successive legal reforms suggest that agencies continue to show credibility problems, but also that politicians keep safeguarding control mechanisms. At the de facto level, the politicization and industry capture are observable and measurable through the intensity of the revolving door, particularly in the financial and the utilities agencies.
Lisboa : Universidade de Lisboa, ICS , 2020
256 p.
Supervisor: Magalhães, Pedro Miguel Dias [Supervisor]
Supervisor: de Sousa, Luís Manuel [Supervisor]
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Creation 16.02.2024
Last edited 16.02.2024
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