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The media accountability of independent regulatory agencies


Maggetti, Martino (2012). The media accountability of independent regulatory agencies. European Political Science Review, 4(3):385-408.

Abstract

Independent regulatory agencies (IRAs) are increasingly attracting academic and societal attention, as they represent the institutional cornerstone of the regulatory state and play a key role in policy-making. Besides the expected benefits in terms of credibility and efficiency, these regulators are said to bring about a ‘democratic deficit’, following their statutory separation from democratic institutions. Consequently, a ‘multi-pronged system of control’ is required. This article focuses on a specific component of this system, that is, the media. The goal is to determine whether media coverage of IRAs meets the necessary prerequisites to be considered a potential ‘accountability forum’ for regulators. The results of a comparison of two contrasted cases – the British and Swiss competition commissions – mostly support the expectations, because they show that media coverage of IRAs corresponds to that of the most relevant policy issues and follows the regulatory cycle. Furthermore, a systematic bias in media coverage can be excluded.

Independent regulatory agencies (IRAs) are increasingly attracting academic and societal attention, as they represent the institutional cornerstone of the regulatory state and play a key role in policy-making. Besides the expected benefits in terms of credibility and efficiency, these regulators are said to bring about a ‘democratic deficit’, following their statutory separation from democratic institutions. Consequently, a ‘multi-pronged system of control’ is required. This article focuses on a specific component of this system, that is, the media. The goal is to determine whether media coverage of IRAs meets the necessary prerequisites to be considered a potential ‘accountability forum’ for regulators. The results of a comparison of two contrasted cases – the British and Swiss competition commissions – mostly support the expectations, because they show that media coverage of IRAs corresponds to that of the most relevant policy issues and follows the regulatory cycle. Furthermore, a systematic bias in media coverage can be excluded.

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13 citations in Web of Science®
9 citations in Scopus®
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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:2012
Deposited On:01 Nov 2012 10:44
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:02
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:1755-7739
Additional Information:Copyright: Cambridge University Press
Publisher DOI:10.1017/S1755773911000208
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-66107

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