Political and Societal Veto Players in Regulatory Reform: The Transformation of Telecommunications in OECD Countries


The past two decades have witnessed a significant realignment of the roles of the state and the private sector in infrastructure industries. Using telecommunications as an example, the study takes advantage of this “natural experiment” to review the explanatory power of the veto player model both theoretically and empirically. At a theoretical level, we point out that one of the great advantages of the veto player model, its parsimony, is at the same time its weakness. This conclusion is solidified by our empirical results. In contrast to earlier work that uses the number of significant laws as the dependent variable, the paper develops a multi-dimensional measure of the legal and institutional transformation. We find that the simple veto player model does not explain the empirical pattern of reforms. An augmented model that differentiates between collective and competitive veto players has much higher explanatory power. Moreover, we find that the structural configuration of the interest group system helps explain the dynamics as well as the extent of sector transformation.

Paper prepared for the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, 15-18 April, Chicago
Frank M. Häge
Frank M. Häge
Political Scientist

Senior Lecturer at the University of Limerick. Interested in Legislative Politics, European Union Politics, and Historical Political Economy.