This book develops and applies an inventive theoretical approach to the comparative study of the neglected aspect of the real (or "de facto") independence of regulatory agencies. The book begins with an examination of the organisational and institutional factors shaping the de facto independence of regulatory agencies in Western Europe. There follows an analysis of the role of independent regulatory agencies in the policy-making process, using de facto independence as an explanatory variable.
The final section is devoted to the relationship between regulatory agencies and the news media. In the conclusive discussion, the author also tackles a set of normative questions, which relates to the virtues and perils of independence.
Many scholars have acknowledged the importance of the informal dimensions of regulatory independence but few have managed to study them convincingly. In this essential book, Maggetti shows how the informal aspects of independence can be analysed systematically and demonstrates their importance for the role of regulatory agencies in policy-making processes. Maggetti's work is bound to have a lasting impact on the way we think about the independence of regulatory authorities.
Fabrizio Gilardi, Professor of Political Science, University of Zurich
The field of regulation and governance is thriving and fast becoming one of the most exciting era of research in the social sciences in general and political science in particular. Martino Maggetti's study of de facto independence demonstrates how and why the field is blooming. Maggetti's moves the research forward in an impressive way - from the formal aspect of institutional independence to its the informal and day-to-day practices. To understand the limits, promises, success and failures of regulatory agencies we need to measure, correlate, analyse and interpret de facto independence. Maggetti gives us an important tool for analysis and in doing so pushes the study of regulatory institutions and regulatory performances significantly forward.
David Levi-Faur, Professor of Political Science,
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Freie Universität Berlin
After thirty years of research on the formal independence of regulatory agencies, Martino Maggetti conceptualises, measures and explains de facto, practical independence. This new book offers original data and a fascinating comparative design: it will be indispensable to those engaged with regulatory studies, comparative public policy, and institutional design.
Claudio Radaelli, Professor of Political Science, Director of the Centre for European Governance, University of Exeter
Only a few scholars have been able to assess how 'de facto independence' of regulatory agencies relates to their formal discretion. In this thought-provoking book, which is a must-read for students and researchers in regulation studies, Martino Maggetti shows in a highly innovative and rigorous way that 'de facto independence' of agencies is not even explained by their formal independence, but rather by their life-cycle and inclusion in networks.
The book shows clearly how central IRA's are in policy making and how this is affected by this independence. The approach in this book is highly enlightening, theoretically, in terms of triangulation of data collection methods as well as by the use of comparative configurational methods. This book is nothing less but a major and crucial contribution to the field.
Koen Verhoest, Research Professor, Department of Politics, University of Antwerp