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Reinventing the Market? Competition and Regulatory Change in Broadcasting


  • Simon Deakin
  • Stephen Pratten


The reforms instituted by the Broadcasting Act 1990 led to a period of turbulence and upheaval within British broadcasting with results that were at best unintended and, at worst, seriously undermined the ideal of public service broadcasting. A Hayekian economic perspective would suggest that the reforms failed because they did not go far enough in the direction of full 'marketisation'. The paper develops an alternative perspective, based on an adaptation of systems theory within the context of law and economics. This approach offers a broader methodological foundation for the understanding of 'economic law' and a different normative perspective on the broadcasting reforms. It is suggested that the difficulty with these reforms was not their failure to go further in the direction of the market, but rather their lack of clarity in articulating a clear alternative to the market as the basis for the organisation of television production.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Deakin & Stephen Pratten, 1999. "Reinventing the Market? Competition and Regulatory Change in Broadcasting," Working Papers wp134, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp134
    Note: PRO-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dahlman, Carl J, 1979. "The Problem of Externality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 141-162, April.
    2. Simon Deakin & Stephen Pratten, 1999. "Competitiveness Policy and Economic Organisation: The Case of the British Film Industry," Working Papers wp127, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    3. Claude Ménard (ed.), 1997. "Transaction Cost Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1150.
    4. Krecke Elisabeth, 1996. "Law and the Market Order. An Austrian Critique of the Economic Analysis of Law," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-21, March.
    5. repec:mes:jeciss:v:30:y:1996:i:4:p:1212-1216 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Simon Deakin & Alan Hughes, 1999. "Economic Efficiency and the Proceduralisation of Company Law," Working Papers wp133, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    7. Fleetwood, Steve, 1996. "Order without Equilibrium: A Critical Realist Interpretation of Hayek's Notion of Spontaneous Order," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(6), pages 729-747, November.
    8. Coase, R H, 1996. "Law and Economics and A. W. Brian Simpson," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 103-119, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thierry Kirat & Frédéric Marty, 2006. "La mise en œuvre de la réglementation : une lecture économico-juridique du secteur électrique et des marchés publics," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 0(4), pages 101-116.
    2. Simon Deakin & Ana Lourenço & Stephen Pratten, 2009. "No "third way" for economic organization: Networks and quasi-markets in broadcasting," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 51-75, February.
    3. Ana Lourenço, 2013. "In memoriam of Professor Ronald Coase," Working Papers de Economia (Economics Working Papers) 06, Católica Porto Business School, Universidade Católica Portuguesa.

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