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This book investigates the link between institutions and public policies with specific reference to transport. It opens by examining the main arguments for the establishment of metropolitan transport authorities. The potential impacts of institutional change on the policy efficiency of institutions are then examined. Key problems for institutional designers are identified, showing how they can hamper the achievement of desired policy outcomes through institutional solutions. Two in-depth case studies on institutional change in metropolitan transport (in London and Barcelona) are presented with a view to testing the aforementioned hypotheses and providing insights into the ways in which the two transport institutions were reformed. The concluding chapter identifies lessons for institutional designers and highlights the policy results that may be expected from the constitution of metropolitan transport authorities.



Chapter 1. The Policy Case for Metropolitan Transport Authorities

This chapter analyses the relation between institutions and policy outcomes with specific reference to the establishment of a Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA). Section 1.2 provides a brief review of the different notions of institution and applies institutional analysis to the study of MTAs. Section 1.3 investigates institutional effects and the possible consequences of a metropolitan rearrangement of local governance. Finally, Sect. 1.4 critiques the relation between institutions and policy outcomes by highlighting some of the problems in the assessment of institutional causation. The central proposal of the chapter is that institutional effects should be sought in terms of policy capacity.
Simone Busetti

Chapter 2. Institutions, Institutional Change and Policy Outcomes

Institutions structure interactions, provide stability and affect actors’ behaviours. How do they change? The chapter provides multiple answers to this question by reviewing several theories explaining institutional change. It starts with evolutionary models based on emergence and unintended consequences, it investigates institutions as equilibria and it analyses different perspectives on stability and change. The core of the analysis lies in a sort of theoretical flip with respect to the classic structural view. Starting with the importance of power and distributive conflict, the chapter proposes to treat institutional change as a kind of policy change. The Sect. 2.5 presents a policy perspective on institutional change, inquiring about particular actors, preferences and modes of interaction.
Simone Busetti

Chapter 3. The New Governance of Transport in London

The history of London governance provides some valuable examples of institutional experimentation. The city has been governed by different metropolitan arrangements for most of the twentieth century, but it also experienced about 15 years without any metropolitan institution. In investigating the link between institutional and policy change, the chapter briefly investigates such varied history, to concentrate on the last reform which established the Greater London Authority (GLA). The process by which the new government was established in 1999 is thoroughly analysed, and both the parliamentary and the administrative negotiations are investigated. The second part of the chapter discusses the change enacted by the GLA; in particular, the differences in the ways policies are formulated. This second part permits us to trace the link between institutional change and policy changes in metropolitan transport.
Simone Busetti

Chapter 4. The Metropolitan Transport Authority of Barcelona (ATM)

The governance of transport in the metropolitan area of Barcelona experienced several institutional restructurings between the 1970s and the 2000s. The analysis starts with the constitution of a tier of metropolitan government in 1974 and its subsequent abolition by the Catalan region in 1987. Ten years later, a new body, the Metropolitan Transport Authority (ATM), was established. The ATM included a wider territory with respect to the former metropolitan government and saw the participation of not only the municipalities, but also the Catalan region. The chapter investigates the process by which the ATM was established, the main features of such institutional transformation and the resulting effects on policy capacity.
Simone Busetti

Chapter 5. Lessons for Institutional Designers

The chapter presents conclusive remarks organised into three sections. Section 5.1 regards the inception of institutional changes, showing that most factors triggering change can be conceptualised as exogenous shocks out of the control of actors in the policy arena. Supporters of institutional change should exploit windows of opportunity opened by such exogenous factors and act as entrepreneurs to trigger change processes. Section 5.2 draws conclusions from the investigation of the processes of institutional change in the two case studies. The section confirms the importance of distributive conflicts on institutional change and reports on several variables affecting the results of change. Finally, Sect. 5.3 explores how the two polar models of transport authorities implemented in Barcelona and London may each provide an enlargement of policy capacity.
Simone Busetti


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