The Routledge Companion to Network Industries: what are the next challenges for research?

In recent decades, network industries around the world have gone through periods of de- and re-regulation. With vast and sometimes conflicting research carried out into specific network industries, the time has come for a critical over-arching assessment of these industries to trigger future research and practice. Therefore, “The Routledge Companion to Network Industries”’s ambition is to provide an orientation for academics, policy makers and business managers as to the main economicregulatory and commercial challenges – and potential solutions – in all the network industries: electronic communications, postal services, electricity, gas, maritime transport, railways, air transport, urban public transport, and water.

In fact, network industries are interesting from a technological and engineering, economics, legal and policy point of view, because they share a layered structure that determines their economic characteristics and their market structure. To capture these aspects and provide a comprehensive view, this Companion approaches the network industries from three main perspectives that depend on each other and are strongly interrelated:

  1. Industry perspective, with a focus on current market developments and dynamics;
  2. Policy perspective, discussing the rationales and aspects of sector-specific regulation;
  3. Management perspective, focusing on the strategic challenges resulting from regulatory and technological change.

During the book presentation for “The Routledge Companion to Network Industries” on 23 June 2016 it emerged that it is time for research to go beyond the traditional sectoral approach. Despite at different stages, the same trends are affecting the network industries, and they deserve attention in a more horizontal way. Hence, moving from a sectoral approach to a discussion that starts from the cross-cutting factors and breaks them down for the different sectors will be the next challenge for research.   



Presentation of the book given by Prof Matthias Finger, co-editor of “The Routledge Companion to Network Industries”. 

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