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The Political Economy of Market and Regulatory Reforms in Turkey: The Logic and Unintended Consequences of Ad-hoc Strategies

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Regulatory reforms which are implemented in many developing countries after market reforms constitute a conflict-ridden process generating complex tensions between governments, independent regulatory agencies, international institutions and private interest groups. By criticising the mainstream a-historical approaches, which reduce those tensions to the reluctance of interest-maximising politicians to delegate power, this article locates current reforms within the historical context of the trajectory of neoliberalism. In the case of Turkey, rather than undertaking comprehensive regulatory reform, the governments of the 1980s implemented ad-hoc strategies within the existing system, which corroded and de-legitimised the old institutional structures and facilitated market reforms. Yet, the same strategies created an institutional structure producing its own vested political and economic interests which gave its specific colour to the form and pace of current regulatory reform. The article derives insights from the Turkish case in order to re-think the crucial relation between politics and regulation, and between choices available to and constraints faced by policy makers and to re-conceptualise the role of unintended consequences by refuting any ideal typical understanding of neoliberalism.
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Keywords: Turkey; bricolage; neoliberalism; reform; regulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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