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Economic regulatory reforms in Switzerland: adjustment without European integration or how rigidities become flexible


Mach, A; Häusermann, S; Papadopoulos, Y (2003). Economic regulatory reforms in Switzerland: adjustment without European integration or how rigidities become flexible. Journal of European Public Policy, 10(2):301-318.

Abstract

During the 1990s, despite not being a member of the EU and despite the existence of numerous veto-points, Switzerland displayed an unexpectedly high degree of adjustment to inter- and supranational regulations, particularly in the field of economic regulatory reforms. The article explains this high capacity of adjustment by focusing on three major cases: the reform of competition policy, the liberalization of the telecom sector and the reforms of the public procurement policy. By examining the interactions between changes at the international level, the induced changing power relations and actor strategies at the domestic level, as well as national institutional constraints, we provide an empirical analysis of these reform processes. The article shows that domestic adjustment followed to a large extent similar patterns in all cases: the government and some administrative actors played an exceptionally strong leading role in formulating the content of the reforms and in shaping the policy processes. Further, we identify unusually exclusive decision- making processes, in which the opponents to the reforms were marginalized. Nevertheless, some strategic concessions were thereafter made to the "losers' of the reforms, in order to overcome the veto-point of the optional referendum which might have threatened their success.
Keywords: Adjustment Capacity; Europeanization; Policy Process; Regulatory Reform; Switzerland; Veto-points

During the 1990s, despite not being a member of the EU and despite the existence of numerous veto-points, Switzerland displayed an unexpectedly high degree of adjustment to inter- and supranational regulations, particularly in the field of economic regulatory reforms. The article explains this high capacity of adjustment by focusing on three major cases: the reform of competition policy, the liberalization of the telecom sector and the reforms of the public procurement policy. By examining the interactions between changes at the international level, the induced changing power relations and actor strategies at the domestic level, as well as national institutional constraints, we provide an empirical analysis of these reform processes. The article shows that domestic adjustment followed to a large extent similar patterns in all cases: the government and some administrative actors played an exceptionally strong leading role in formulating the content of the reforms and in shaping the policy processes. Further, we identify unusually exclusive decision- making processes, in which the opponents to the reforms were marginalized. Nevertheless, some strategic concessions were thereafter made to the "losers' of the reforms, in order to overcome the veto-point of the optional referendum which might have threatened their success.
Keywords: Adjustment Capacity; Europeanization; Policy Process; Regulatory Reform; Switzerland; Veto-points

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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
Language:English
Date:2003
Deposited On:20 Mar 2009 10:53
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:28
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1350-1763
Publisher DOI:10.1080/1350176032000059053
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-3993

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