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A New Institutionalism Analysis of Electricity Sector Reform: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives

PAQ, Vol. 38 No. 1, (2014)

This paper suggests theoretical outlines and comparative perspectives, in the context of new institutionalism, for analyzing electricity sector reform. It calls for a better understanding of the timing and pace of specific reforms in order to loosen the structural determinism that dominates the field. The paper integrates historical and rational choice new institutionalism to explain utilities sectors reforms. We analyze the mechanisms of change as the outcome of individual players’ strategies under given structural influences. The theoretical framework highlights the critical role of transformative entrepreneurs as a necessary condition for meaningful or radical institutional change, and suggests a platform for analyzing their strategic choices. The paper also provides insights from its comparison of developed and developing countries. We test our framework using a case study analysis of the ongoing process of re-structuring and reform in the electricity sector in Israel in recent decades.

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