Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Seminar

Importing Institutions? The Mixed Blessing of Electricity Regulators in India

Friday, March 10, 2006 - 10:00am to 11:00am


Speaker:
Navroz K. Dubash -  IDFC Chair Professor of Governance and Public Policy, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi, India
Download The New Regulatory Politics of Electricity in India: Independent, Embedded or Transcendent?

Chair:
David Roodman - Research Fellow, Center for Global Development

Navroz K. Dubash will give a talk on independent regulation in India as an experiment in importing institutions to the developing world. Navroz is Professor of Governance and Public Policy at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), an independent think-tank in New Delhi, India, where he leads NIPFP's work on governance. His work focuses on the political economy of institutional development and change, and the design of related governance mechanisms, with a recent focus on public utilities. Before joining NIPFP, he was a Senior Associate at the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC, in its Institutions and Governance Program.

This talk describes the emergence of independent electricity regulatory bodies in India as an outcome of donor driven institutional transplant. Regulation was conceived as a new sphere of governance that allowed insulation from corrosive politics, a necessary step to attract private investment to the sector. In practice regulators have become absorbed into India's political economy, but not always in expected ways. The talk is organized around three competing narratives describing the role of electricity regulation in India, with a particular emphasis on the role of regulation in New Delhi's high-profile electricity privatization. It concludes with a discussion of comparative experience with regulation in other Asian countries in light of the Indian experience.