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Infrastructures: the limits of the regulatory state

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This paper points to the centrality of the infrastructure industry in the study of regulation, in general, and the regulatory state, in particular. It progress in three steps. First, it considers the particular attributes that make infrastructure industries a unique site for the exploration of policy trajectories and the limits of statehood. Second, it discusses, in brief, cross-national and cross-sectoral experiences in regulating infrastructure industries to highlight the diversity and instability that have characterized their regulation over the past three decades. Finally, the paper takes the problem-solving capacity of the regulatory state into question in the face of inherent ‘wicked issues’. In conclusion, the paper develops three scenarios for the future of the regulatory state in infrastructure industries, noting that it is likely to be one of high instability and high politics.

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