Diffusion of Regulatory Governance: the rise of transnational regulatory networks

It takes a long time to write a journal article. To speed up my speed, I recently checked out a book on how to write a journal article. I’m glad I did, and while I think I improved my process, it is still a long process. Particularly when drawing on new empirical data. Writing a blog provides an exciting break from the precision that should go into a journal article. Blogging actually just helps to develop the writing flow necessary to plough through complicated (sometimes boring) arguments and perspectives. Doing both provides a nice balance.

Last year I was fortunate enough to be asked by the Energy Regulators Regional Association (ERRA) to assess through a publication their 10 year anniversary. I approached it like I would any research project. And what I got was a great amount of interviews – 31 total, including interviews with 17 current and former head regulators from across Eastern Europe and the CIS countries. I decided to incorporate this into a journal article drawing on my theoretical research into governance (see my Energy Policy article on risk governance) – which is slanted towards the role that regulators play. Thus you get the emergence of a new global regulatory regime, sitting under regulatory capitalism. In short, there is a lot of connection with how I explored state structures in my PhD (2006) and how I still view the inner workings of the state.  Below is the abstract and if you follow this link, you can download the conference paper I wrote for the Ninth International Conference on European Energy Market.

I’m posting this with the hope that there is some feedback. But then I’ll add a whole host of disclaimers saying that the journal article will actually be clearer, more concise and will actually say what I’m trying to say in this first draft version. This conference paper didn’t allow much space, so things had to be cut and reduced – including the methodology. I really have to focus on what the reader expects to get out of the article and what the article demonstrates about transnational regulatory networks and the flows of knowledge within them. Any feedback can be sent to: michael.labelle@energyscee.com

Diffusion of Regulatory Knowledge: A case study of transnational regulatory networks 

(conference paper available here)


In 2001, the Energy Regulators Regional Association (ERRA) was established in Budapest, Hungary to foster cooperation and education necessary for the leaders and the staff of new national regulatory authorities  (NRA) in Eastern Europe and in the Commonwealth of Independent States. This paper examines the diffusion of regulatory knowledge from the US and EU to ERRA members. The research is based on 31 interviews with current and past ERRA members, regulatory staff and individuals closely associated and knowledgeable about ERRA’s formation and its activities; seventeen of these were either current or former leaders of their respective regulatory institutions. This provides a theoretically grounded perspective of how regulatory knowledge is diffused to ERRA members. The rise of a new international regulatory regime – regulatory capitalism, supported by an approach of sectoral governance, is demonstrated to be intertwined with the global diffusion of NRAs and the establishment of best practices  reliant on a system of formal and informal learning and trust between regulators.