Independent Regulatory Agencies and Political-Administrative Relations in Contemporary European Democracies: Some Tentative Reflections
Keywords:parliamentary democracy, independent regulatory agencies, principal-Agent, depoliticization, interest-groups, regulation
This essay provides a concise overview of the current state of political-administrative relations in Europe’s Parliamentary democracy. It is more particularly focused on presenting the implications that the growth of independent regulatory agencies (IRAs) has had on such relationship, and on reviewing the empirical evidence in support of three distinct scenarios – one in which politicians abdicate their control power over IRAs to the benefit of interest groups; one where IRAs maintain and expand their autonomy or de facto independence both vis-à-vis politicians and interest-groups; and one where politicians regain control over IRAs and their decisions. I argue that even if the second scenario has received extended empirical support, politicization under the regulatory order could well be under-estimated – with broader implications for political-administrative relations that are briefly introduced.
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