Governing Transnational Commons through Strategic Technology Associations: A Comparative Study of Radio Spectrum Management in Europe

Abstract

The proposed paper examines the role of self-regulation in the management of the electromagnetic radio spectrum � the transnational common pool resource utilised for mobile communications worldwide. The article analyses how collective choice arrangements have been negotiated for the management of second, third and fourth generation mobile cellular communications in the European Union. Combining the methods of process tracing and network analysis, the study makes three contributions. First, it shows that direct appropriators of the resource � service operators and equipment suppliers � have created autonomous, self-contained and stable institutions for negotiating the technology which defines their rights of access on and use of the radio spectrum resource. Second, it shows that appropriators can negotiate these arrangements with or without the presence of an external public entrepreneur, such as the European Commission. Third, it shows that appropriators achieve such arrangements by interacting in networks of association � a type of strategic alliance formed around a central technology � which provide stable conflict-resolution and self-monitoring mechanisms. Overall, the paper invites discussion about associative action as a defining principle for achieving collective arrangements in transnational commons and contrasts it with the established hierarchical, market and community approaches to managing these types of resources.



Author Information
Irina Iordachescu, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECPEL2014
Stream: Politics – Governance

This paper is part of the ECPEL2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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