The regulatory state in developing countries: Can it exist and do we want it? The case of the Indonesian power sector

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Abstract

In the rush for development, the regulatory state has assumed the mantle of a new panacea: the instruments and mechanisms necessary for better government, better governance, and better lives. This paper poses two basic questions in response to the rise of the regulatory state and its increasing diffusion into developing countries. First, can regulatory states exist in developing societies or, more accurately, can effective regulatory states emerge and hope to function in a manner similar to their counterparts in developed countries and deliver the types of benefits and outcomes they promise? And second, do regulatory states offer the most effective modalities for delivering enhanced social well-being? By unpacking the concept of the regulatory state and addressing its underlying assumptions and implicit normative values, it is suggested that the modalities of governance entailed in the regulatory state model may not be well suited to developing countries, hurting rather than enhancing governance outcomes. These issues are explored in relation to the Indonesian energy sector, specifically the upstream electricity generation, transmission and distribution sectors, and the machinations involved in governing the sector. Copyright © 2012 Journal of Contemporary Asia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-492
JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
Volume42
Issue number3
Early online dateJun 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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developing country
governance
electricity
well-being
energy
society
Values

Citation

Jarvis, D. S. L. (2012). The regulatory state in developing countries: Can it exist and do we want it? The case of the Indonesian power sector. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 42(3), 464-492. doi: 10.1080/00472336.2012.687633

Keywords

  • Regulation
  • Regulatory states
  • Indonesia
  • Electricity
  • Policy diffusion
  • Neo-liberalism