European Consortium for Political Research. General conference edition:F5th location:Potsdam date:10-12 September 2009
In the post-liberalisation area, utility companies operate in a context of multilevel regulation, involving a wide set of authorities with general or sector-based competencies. Such a specialisation in the regulatory arrangements may generate fragmentation and lack of effectiveness. This paper tempers these predictions and shows that coordination mechanisms drastically limit fragmentation in multi-level regulatory arrangements. In other terms, specialisation is not synonymous of fragmentation as coordination mechanisms compensate the dispersion of competencies between multiple levels and authorities. Using a typology of coordination instruments, the aim is to identify which instruments contribute to avoid fragmentation in the regulatory arrangements. The empirical analysis is based on a comparison of two utility sectors, energy and telecommunications, from a single-country perspective. Although the number of regulatory actors involved in each sector is quite substantial, arising coordination needs are dealt with by a range of procedural and structural coordination mechanisms. A multitude of coordination instruments are used in regulatory arrangements, notably advisory platforms in vertical coordination and non-binding advices in horizontal coordination.