Measuring Regulators' Statutory Independence

35 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 25 Aug 2009

See all articles by Chris J. Hanretty

Chris J. Hanretty

European University Institute

Christel Koop

King's College London

Date Written: 2009


Given past and continued liberalization of the economy, interest has grown in politicians’ efforts to re-regulate previously liberalized sectors through creation independent regulatory agencies (IRAs). One key theoretical interest is the degree of independence of these IRAs. In this article, we define what we understand by independence, and in particular statutory independence from politics. We argue that existing attempts to operationalize the statutory independence of IRAs from politics suffer from a number of conceptual and methodological flaws. Using new data gathered from 194 IRAs worldwide, we test these arguments by modelling the statutory independence of IRAs as a latent trait. Our arguments are borne out insofar as a number of index items we had criticised turn out to perform poorly in the model. We close by giving recommendations for researchers working on the statutory independence of regulatory agencies.

Keywords: delegation, independent regulatory agencies, statutory independence, latent trait model

Suggested Citation

Hanretty, Chris J. and Koop, Christel, Measuring Regulators' Statutory Independence (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Chris J. Hanretty (Contact Author)

European University Institute ( email )

Badia Fiesolana
14 via Roccettini
Firenze (Florence), 50014

Christel Koop

King's College London ( email )

United Kingdom

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