It is conventional to argue that the autonomy and reputation of independent regulatory agencies (IRAs) depend on their expertise. Yet, studies on how IRAs create and deploy their knowledge capacity are few and far apart.
By addressing the underexplored question of the role of economics in regulatory policy making, this book fills a gap in two different strands of literature: on IRAs and on knowledge utilisation respectively. Only a few authors have taken a somewhat comparable approach (eg McGarity 1991, Morgenstern 1997, Jennings and Hall 2011), but their work focuses on US regulators. Conversely, little has been written on their European counterparts.
This book also proposes an innovative solution to operationalise hypotheses on the role of expertise in policy making, and makes this contribution particularly relevant for recent debates on evidence-based policy making. Finally, it takes a close look at specific regulatory decisions by one of the oldest and most authoritative regulators.
‘In this exciting book, Lorna Schrefler fills a critical gap in the literature on regulation and governance by providing an original framework to conceptualise and assess the uses of economic knowledge in the regulatory process. Her in-depth study of decision-making in Ofcom also makes a major empirical contribution to the field, which is of great interest to those engaged in regulatory studies, public policy and public administration.’
Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Zürich
‘In this enlightening work, Lorna Schrefler explores an often neglected aspect of regulatory governance: the way independent regulatory agencies use expertise, and in particular economic analysis, to formulate their decisions. Rooted in the literature on knowledge utilisation, this work concludes that agencies increasingly use knowledge in an instrumental way. Schrefler’s research also contributes to a more complete understanding of the conditions under which regulatory agencies perform their role within the public policy landscape. A must-read for all scholars and experts in the public governance field.’
Senior Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels