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The rewards of cooperation: The effects of membership in European regulatory networks


  • Martino Maggetti

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Zurich and University of Lausanne, Switzerland
    • Address for correspondence: Martino Maggetti, Department of Political Science, Afforlternstrasse 56, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland. Tel.: +41 44 634 50 57. E-mail:

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Networks famously epitomize the shift from ‘government’ to ‘governance’ as governing structures for exercising control and coordination besides hierarchies and markets. Their distinctive features are their horizontality, the interdependence among member actors and an interactive decision-making style. Networks are expected to increase the problem-solving capacity of political systems in a context of growing social complexity, where political authority is increasingly fragmented across territorial and functional levels. However, very little attention has been given so far to another crucial implication of network governance – that is, the effects of networks on their members. To explore this important question, this article examines the effects of membership in European regulatory networks on two crucial attributes of member agencies, which are in charge of regulating finance, energy, telecommunications and competition: organisational growth and their regulatory powers. Panel analysis applied to data on 118 agencies during a ten-year period and semi-structured interviews provide mixed support regarding the expectation of organisational growth while strongly confirming the positive effect of networks on the increase of the regulatory powers attributed to member agencies.