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Regulatory policy

Eleventh meeting of the Network of Economic Regulators

 

26 November 2018, Paris, France

 

The OECD Network of Economic Regulators (NER) held a successful 11th meeting on Monday 26 November. The meeting brought together high level representatives from over 50 regulators from across the world, including new participants from Canada, France, Lithuania and New Zealand. This meeting took forward the NER’s discussion on the “future of regulation” based on the role and experiences of regulatory authorities in the frontlines of the transformation of our economies by disruptive technologies and other on-going work streams.

 

Discussions focused on the impact of the data revolution on markets, and how disruptive technologies affect infrastructure networks and their regulation. It was shown how data driven markets can be tipped into monopolies, where incumbents build an advantage for crossing sector boundaries. Data sharing and availability constitute solutions that can enhance customer engagement but also pose questions of privacy, consent and ethics. It was also noted that digitalisation, machine learning and automation could also exacerbate more “traditional” regulatory challenges such as asymmetrical information and risk management. Discussions on disruptive technologies and infrastructure highlighted the pace and diversity of impacts of recent technological changes on traditional infrastructure networks. A new digital service layer that shares characteristics with traditional network industries, can lead to competition where monopolies were thought to be prevalent. Across energy, transport and communication networks, these new services can create additional demand, affecting capacity and maintenance planning, as well as divert funding away from infrastructure managers by creating new (unregulated) business models.

 

Other sessions included discussion of cutting edge work of the NER in the following areas:

  • Organisational performance: Two performance assessment reviews (PAFER) of Peru’s telecommunications (OSIPTEL) and energy and mining (Osinergmin) regulators were discussed by delegates, including with lessons learnt from previous reviews of Mexico’s energy regulators. The reviews underline the important opportunity for stability and predictability provided by independent economic regulators in uncertain political contexts, when robust governance arrangements, a strong culture of independence and medium-term strategic visions exist.
  • Using behavioural insights to enhance safety culture: The results of key findings from an on-line survey-based experiment on behavioural barriers and enablers for creating a safety culture in the energy sector in Canada, Ireland, Mexico and Oman were presented. These will inform practical guidance on key behavioural barriers and enablers to creating a safety culture with ideas for solutions to be tested in specific contexts. This work will contribute to a horizontal project conducted with other OECD committees responsible for competition, consumer protection and environmental policy on applying behavioural insights to address complex policy problems.
  • Governance of regulators: Delegates were presented with the preliminary results of the Product Market Regulation (PMR) indicators on the governance of regulators. Preliminary indicators show a wide variety of governance arrangements between countries. For instance, regulators in the e-communications sector tend to be more in line with the governance practices identified in the survey, with the lowest OECD average independence (shared with the energy and water sectors), accountability, and scope of action scores. Regulators in the air sector reported governance arrangements that tended to be furthest away from the practices identified in the survey than those in other sectors, with the highest OECD average independence, accountability, and scope of action scores.

 

Finally, the NER also continued its long-standing collaboration with the French Club des régulateurs with a seminar focused on RegTech on Tuesday 27 November, furthering the discussion on the challenges and opportunities faced by regulators in using and regulating new technologies.

 

For more information, please contact James Drummond and Anna Pietikainen.

 

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» Regulatory policy and governance

» Network of Economic Regulators

 

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