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Government Credible Commitment to the French and American Nuclear Power Industries


  • Magali Delmas

    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • Bruce Heiman

    (Maastricht University, The Netherlands)


Backlash against nuclear power, although widespread, affected nuclear power programs differently in the United States than in France owing to their differing institutional setups. This article uses a transaction costs economics approach to examine government credible commitment to the French and American nuclear power industries. Positive political theory sheds light on the comparative institutional environment in each industry. The American combination of fragmented power, little reliance on bureaucratic expertise, an independent judiciary, and opposing interest groups greatly undermines the ability of the U.S. government to credibly commit to the nuclear power industry. In France, despite substantial anti-nuclear interest groups, the impermeability of the institutional setup-no division of power, weak judiciary, and reliance on bureaucratic expertise-effectively prevents activists from influencing policy outcomes. © 2001 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Magali Delmas & Bruce Heiman, 2001. "Government Credible Commitment to the French and American Nuclear Power Industries," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(3), pages 433-456.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:20:y:2001:i:3:p:433-456
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.1002

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    Cited by:

    1. Junseop Shim & Chisung Park & Mark Wilding, 2015. "Identifying policy frames through semantic network analysis: an examination of nuclear energy policy across six countries," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 48(1), pages 51-83, March.
    2. D. Finon & F. Roques, 2008. "Financing Arrangements and Industrial Organisation for New Nuclear Build in Electricity Markets," Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, Intersentia, vol. 9(3), pages 247-282, September.
    3. Gregory F. Nemet & Peter Braden & Ed Cubero & Bickey Rimal, 2014. "Four decades of multiyear targets in energy policy: aspirations or credible commitments?," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(5), pages 522-533, September.
    4. Delmas, Magali & Tokat, Yesim, 2003. "Deregulation Process, Governance Structures and Efficiency: The U.S. Electric Utility Sector," Research Papers 1790, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    5. Wang, Qiang & Chen, Xi & Yi-chong, Xu, 2013. "Accident like the Fukushima unlikely in a country with effective nuclear regulation: Literature review and proposed guidelines," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 126-146.
    6. Delmas, Magali & Marcus, Alfred, 2003. "Firms' Choice of Regulation Instruments to Reduce Pollution: A Tansaction Cost Approach," Research Papers 1806, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    7. Dominique Finon & Fabien Roques, 2010. "Contractual and Financing Arrangements for New Nuclear Investment in Liberalized Markets: Which Efficient Combination?," Chapters,in: Security of Energy Supply in Europe, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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