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The political communication of independent regulatory agencies


Puppis, Manuel; Maggetti, Martino; Gilardi, Fabrizio; Biela, Jan; Papadopoulos, Yannis (2014). The political communication of independent regulatory agencies. Swiss Political Science Review = Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, 20(3):388-412.

Abstract

Since independent regulatory agencies (IRAs) became key actors in European regulatory governance in the 1990s, a significant share of policy-making has been carried out by organizations that are neither democratically elected nor directly accountable to elected politicians. In this context, public communication plays an important role. On the one hand, regulatory agencies might try to use communication to raise their accountability and thereby to mitigate their democratic deficit. On the other hand, communication may be used with the intent to steer the behavior of the regulated industry when more coercive regulatory means are unfeasible or undesirable. However, empirical research focusing directly on how regulators communicate is virtually non-existent. To fill this gap, this paper examines the public communication of IRAs in four countries (the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland) and three sectors (financial services, telecommunications, and broadcasting). The empirical analysis, based on qualitative interviews and a quantitative content analysis, indicates that the organization of the communication function follows a national pattern approach while a policy sector approach is helpful for understanding the use of communication as a soft tool of regulation.

Since independent regulatory agencies (IRAs) became key actors in European regulatory governance in the 1990s, a significant share of policy-making has been carried out by organizations that are neither democratically elected nor directly accountable to elected politicians. In this context, public communication plays an important role. On the one hand, regulatory agencies might try to use communication to raise their accountability and thereby to mitigate their democratic deficit. On the other hand, communication may be used with the intent to steer the behavior of the regulated industry when more coercive regulatory means are unfeasible or undesirable. However, empirical research focusing directly on how regulators communicate is virtually non-existent. To fill this gap, this paper examines the public communication of IRAs in four countries (the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland) and three sectors (financial services, telecommunications, and broadcasting). The empirical analysis, based on qualitative interviews and a quantitative content analysis, indicates that the organization of the communication function follows a national pattern approach while a policy sector approach is helpful for understanding the use of communication as a soft tool of regulation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Accountability, Legitimacy, Media, Regulation
Language:English
Date:September 2014
Deposited On:05 Jan 2015 16:58
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:40
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1424-7755
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/spsr.12118
Official URL:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/spsr.12118/pdf
Related URLs:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/spsr.12118/abstract

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