IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Rise of the Regulatory State in Latin America: A Study of the Diffusion of Regulatory Reforms Across Countries and Sectors


  • Levi-Faur, David
  • Jordana, Jacint


This paper presents and analyzes the sweeping restructuring of the state in Latin America, using the notion of the rise of the Regulatory State. We present for the first time a database on the creation of regulatory agencies and their reform in 19 countries and 12 sectors over a period of 24 years (1979-2002). We aim to explain the rise of the Regulatory State in Latin America by reference to a distinction between sectoral and national patterns in the diffusion of autonomous regulatory authorities. While national patterns of diffusion imply that the number of prior regulatory authorities within a country will determine the probability of the establishment of new authorities in that country. Sectoral patterns predict that the establishment of new authorities will be determined by the number of regulatory authorities in the same sector in other countries. In order to test these conflicting predictions, we consider the effects of the establishment of regulatory authorities in (a) all sectors in all countries, (b) the same sector by other countries, and (c) other sectors in the relevant country. Thus, the results of the statistical analysis provide a direct measure of contagious patterns of diffusion, namely the effect of prior adoption on current adoption. This distinction is then used to shed light on the two important mechanisms that propel the process of diffusion: policy learning and policy emulation. While international organizations and actors that support and promote the new order usually highlight the first mechanism, critics of the current order usually underline the second mechanism. Our results provide some support for the importance of sectoral diffusion and for the role of emulation in the rise of the Regulatory State. These results coincide with a growing body of literature that emphasizes the role of contagious diffusion in the spread of policy reforms.

Suggested Citation

  • Levi-Faur, David & Jordana, Jacint, 2004. "The Rise of the Regulatory State in Latin America: A Study of the Diffusion of Regulatory Reforms Across Countries and Sectors," Centre on Regulation and Competition (CRC) Working papers 30621, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:idpmcr:30621

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sharun W. Mukand & Dani Rodrik, 2005. "In Search of the Holy Grail: Policy Convergence, Experimentation, and Economic Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 374-383, March.
    2. Przeworski, Adam & Vreeland, James Raymond, 2000. "The effect of IMF programs on economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 385-421, August.
    3. Jacint Jordana & David Levi-Faur (ed.), 2004. "The Politics of Regulation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3167, April.
    4. Haas, Peter M., 1992. "Introduction: epistemic communities and international policy coordination," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(01), pages 1-35, December.
    5. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
    6. Remmer, Karen L., 2002. "The Politics of Economic Policy and Performance in Latin America," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 29-59, January.
    7. Atkinson, Michael M. & Coleman, William D., 1989. "Strong States and Weak States: Sectoral Policy Networks in Advanced Capitalist Economies," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(01), pages 47-67, January.
    8. Vives, Xavier, 1996. "Social learning and rational expectations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 589-601, April.
    9. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
    10. Majone, Giandomenico, 1997. "From the Positive to the Regulatory State: Causes and Consequences of Changes in the Mode of Governance," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(02), pages 139-167, May.
    11. Harberger, Arnold C, 1993. "Secrets of Success: A Handful of Heroes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 343-350, May.
    12. Mariano Tommasi & Pablo T. Spiller & Ernesto Stein, 2003. "Political Institutions, Policymaking Processes, and Policy Outcomes. An Intertemporal Transactions Framework," Working Papers 59, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Jul 2003.
    13. David Levi-Faur, 2004. "Comparative Research Designs in the Study of Regulation: How to Increase the Number of Cases without Compromising the Strengths of Case-Oriented Analysis," Chapters,in: The Politics of Regulation, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Serebrisky, Tomás & López Azumendi, Sebastián & Alberto Andrés, Luis, 2011. "Institutional design and governance of airport regulators: The case of Latin America," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 207-210.

    More about this item


    Public Economics;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:idpmcr:30621. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.