Toward a Latin American regulatory state? The diffusion of autonomous regulatory agencies across countries and sectors

Jacint Jordana*, David Levi-Faur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article explores the sweeping restructuring of the state in Latin America. Regulatory governance through autonomous agencies that was long confined to the United States (at the country level) and to central banking (at the sectoral level) is evolving from "best practice" to a hegemonic institution grounded in a new convention. Our dataset reveals an explosive growth of regulatory agencies across different sectors and nations in Latin America. We draw a major distinction between sectoral and national patterns of diffusion that challenges deeply entrenched research designs that treat the nation as the exclusive unit of analysis. Two particular insights exemplify the productivity of our approach. First, it allow us to move the discussion from the American origins of the regulatory state to sectoral origins, namely the centuries of central bank independence in Europe. Second, we found that while the first stages of the diffusion of regulatory authorities in the region display sectoral patterns, the later stages have significant national characteristics. This is a paradoxical result in an age which celebrates the demise of the nation-state.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)335-366
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Public Administration
Volume29
Issue number4-6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Central banks
  • Diffusion models
  • Independent agencies
  • Latin America
  • Policy emulation
  • Policy learning
  • Regulation

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