Working paper / Energy
Comparing Regulatory Agencies. Report on the Results of a Worldwide Survey
Although regulatory agencies have been created all over the world in the past decade, their design may vary considerably. In this report, we offer more insight into the variation in design by presenting the findings of a worldwide survey among regulators in seven policy areas: competition, energy, environmental, financial market, food safety, pharmaceutical and telecommunication policy. On the basis of the answers of 175 regulatory agencies from 88 countries, we conclude that although their design shows huge variation, a picture of the modal regulator can be drawn. The modal regulator is managed by a head and board members who serve for a fixed and renewable term of five years, who can be dismissed for reasons unrelated to their decisions, who cannot hold other offices in the public administration, and who need to be formally independent. The regulator is typically obliged to submit to politicians an annual report, whilst politicians can give the regulator policy instructions, can start an inquiry into the regulator’s operations, and can control the budget. Finally, the regulator is formally independent, has exclusive competence, decides on its own internal organisation and personnel policy, and makes policy decisions which cannot be reversed by another body than a court.