The age of regulatory agencies: tracking differences and similarities over countries and sectors


Over the recent decades, regulatory agencies have become very common in most parts of the world. They have emerged as specialized public institutions, taking over regulatory and supervisory tasks across multiple policy areas and sectors. Their diffusion constitute a vast institutional innovation that has arrived on the shores of traditional administrative bureaucracies, highlighting some specific characteristics. In particular, organizational autonomy and political delegation are some of the most distinctive traits they exhibit when they are established. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a cartography of such expansion, comparing early-adopter sectors and countries to those late-comers, discussing where the institutional model reached completion and where remained as an unreached goal, and also examining to what extent they share or not share the same common characteristics, beyond existing similarities in the tasks they carry on. To the extent they proliferate in democratic settings particularly is also discussed here. We examine these questions vis-à-vis a data set of regulatory agencies that includes data on their creation (1966-2017) and their autonomy (2010), in 17 sectors and over 100 countries.

Handbook of Regulatory Authorities, edited by Martino Maggetti, Fabrizio Di Mascio, and Alessandro Natalini, Edward Elgar Publishing

The following figure is a correction and update of the one show in the book chapter:

Portfolio of spaces covered by regulatory agencies