What are regulatory intermediaries? What roles do regulatory intermediaries play? What is the basis of their regulatory capacity and authority? This article examines these questions by focusing on the Big-4 international audit firms in the context of harmonizing international financial reporting standards. I argue that regulatory intermediaries perform a variety of regulatory market failure correcting functions for both regulatory makers and takers. Intermediation is far from being secondary to the regulatory process, and intermediaries, particularly those of transnational nature, have a pivotal role. Furthermore, regulatory intermediaries, as exemplified in the case of the Big-4, continuously challenge the primacy of the state, and the division of labor and balance of power between regulatory actors. Regulatory entrepreneurship and activism, coupled with unique organizational model based on global networks of partnerships, have led to the ascension of the Big-4 to unprecedented regulatory and market powers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
I thank Bob Hanckè, Yoram Haftel, David Levi-Faur, Mark Thatcher, Michael Storper, Piki Ish-Shalom, and Galia Press Bar-Nathan for their insightful and helpful comments. I am also grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and support in the review process. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
© The Author(s) 2019.
- regulatory intermediaries