Regulatory States in the South: Can They Exist and Do We Want Them? The Case of the Indonesian Power Sector

41 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2011

See all articles by D. S. L. Jarvis

D. S. L. Jarvis

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Date Written: December 1, 2010


In the rush for development, the regulatory state has assumed the mantle of the new panacea: the instruments and mechanisms necessary for better government, better governance, and better lives. In this paper I pose two basic questions in response to the rise of the regulatory state and its increasing diffusion into the Global South. First, can regulatory states exist in the south or, more accurately, can effective regulatory states emerge and hope to function in a manner similar to their counterparts in the Global North and deliver the types of benefits and outcomes they promise? And second, would we in fact want regulatory states in the Global South, by which I mean do they offer the most effective modalities for delivering developmental outcomes and enhanced social well being? By unpacking the concept of the regulatory state and addressing its underlying assumptions and implicit normative values, I suggest that the modalities of governance entailed in the regulatory state model may not in fact be well suited to developing countries, hurting rather than enhancing governance outcomes. These issues are explored in relation to the Indonesian energy sector, specifically the upstream electricity generation, transmission and distribution sectors, and the machinations involved in governing the sector.

Keywords: Regulation, Regulatory States, Indonesia, Electricity, Policy Diffusion, Global South

Suggested Citation

Jarvis, Darryl Stuart, Regulatory States in the South: Can They Exist and Do We Want Them? The Case of the Indonesian Power Sector (December 1, 2010). Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Research Paper No. LKYSPP10-11, Available at SSRN: or

Darryl Stuart Jarvis (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

369C Bukit Timah Road
Oei Tiong Ham Building
Singapore, 259772
6565164205 (Phone)
6567781020 (Fax)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics