The importance of non-functional factors in explaining delegation to non-governmental agencies: the case study of radio spectrum
Healy, Gary (2009) The importance of non-functional factors in explaining delegation to non-governmental agencies: the case study of radio spectrum. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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This thesis examines the non-functional factors explaining the growth and variation of delegation to independent agencies. The literature argues that delegation is more likely in sectors subject to market opening, like telecommunications or energy. The functional reasons for the creation of independent agencies such as credibility, complexity or expertise, explain the growing incidence of delegation to independent agencies. However, there are still wide variations in the level of independence given to independent agencies. The literature has identified a number of the non-functional factors which may explain the variations in the levels of independence. The non-functional factors are concerned with the role of political traditions; isomorphism, specifically the role of the European Union, and blame-shifting.
This thesis examines the delegation process in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands. It examines Telecommunications as a sector subject to market opening but specifically examines the delegation of radio spectrum management. Radio spectrum is a key operational responsibility of Telecommunications regulatory agencies however it has been delegated through different institutional solutions. An examination of radio spectrum delegation will help to explain the non-functional factors for delegation and offer a better understanding of the delegation process.
This dissertation highlights the importance of the non-functional factors in the decision to delegate. Radio spectrum management is not delegated, without constraints on the agent, in cases where policy actors believe they need to retain control over the financial rewards of radio spectrum licences. The review of the delegation process also highlights that the non-functional factors differ at a national level. In some cases blame shifting is a factor, in others it is not. Political traditions can act both for and against delegation depending on the political culture. The importance of the European Union is reinforced in these case studies and is considered a key driver behind the creation of independent agencies.
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