Journal of Public Policy

Research Article

Regulatory Quality and Performance in EU Network Industries: Evidence on Telecommunications, Gas and Electricity

Mehmet Ugur c1


This article provides empirical evidence on ex ante and ex post indicators of regulatory quality and the relationship between those indicators and market performance in liberalised EU-15 network industries. It finds a low level of regulatory independence and competence, a high level of cross-country variations in regulatory quality, and widespread absence of correlation between ex ante regulatory quality and ex post performance indicators. On the basis of these findings, it suggests that the design of national regulatory agencies (NRAs) in Europe is not optimal and may be conducive to regulatory ineffectiveness or outright regulatory failure. Nevertheless, the existence and strengthening of EU-level regulators could enable EU member states to reduce the risk of regulatory failure by encouraging coordination and adoption of best practice.

Key words

  • Economics of regulation;
  • European public policy;
  • Regulatory quality;
  • Network industries


c1 University of Greenwich Business School, Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, London SE10 9LS