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Delegation to Independent Regulatory Agencies: Pressures, Functions and Contextual Mediation

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Independent Regulatory Agencies (IRAs) have spread across many domains in Western Europe. The article examines selected examples in Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. A functionalist analysis of the pressures on elected officials and the functions that IRAs perform provide a valuable starting point for analysis. Nevertheless, it confronts cross-national and cross-domain variations in the timing of the creation of IRAs, their spread and their institutional forms. In order to offer a fuller account, contextual factors that mediate pressures must be considered. These factors include learning and institutional isomorphism; state traditions and structures; political leadership; state reforms. Finally, IRAs have had far-reaching consequences that have often been unanticipated at the time of their creation.
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Keywords: delegation; independent regulators; regulation; regulatory agency

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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