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Workshop Paper / Transport

Summary of the 3rd Conference on the Regulation of Infrastructures

Editor(s): BERT Nadia, KUPFER David

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The third Conference on the Regulation of Infrastructures has brought together academics and practitioners to discuss different questions related to the infrastructure industries namely transport, energy, telecoms and water distribution. All network industries have gone and are still going through processes of liberalization as well as de- and re-regulation. These processes lead to a variety of legal, political and technical questions. The ambition of this Conference was to allow discussions that are interdisciplinary as well as cross-sectorial.

As the sectors are not in the same stage of transformation, very different questions arise and different policy options are being discussed. Yet general questions such as the complex interplay between sector specific and competition regulation pertain to all sectors.  The Conference allowed researches to get high quality feedback from fellow colleagues and also to learn from the experience of other industry sectors.

14 papers were presented in seven round table sessions each dedicated to one or two of the discussed industry sections. While Energy, Telecommunications and Transport were also featured during last year’s edition of the conference, in 2014 also water regulation was present with a dedicated session.

The Conference ended with a final joint session of all sectors, where a paper looking at a cross-sectorial question was discussed. This session underlined the importance of engaging in cross sectorial debates. The presented paper raised the question to what extent sector specific regulation and competition regulation were “friends or enemies”.  To understand these questions it is necessary to compare the experiences of the different sectors and from a cross national perspective. In spite of the increasing specialisation of discourses within the sectors such discussions are crucial to understanding the development of infrastructure industries. The third Conference on the Regulation of Infrastructures has made an important contribution to this.