Government Credible Commitment in the French and American Nuclear Industry

M. Delmas, B. Heiman

Backlash against nuclear power, although widespread, affected nuclear power pro- grams differently in the United States than in France owing to their differing institutional setups. This article uses a transaction costs economics approach to examine government credible commitment to the French and American nuclear power industries. Positive political theory sheds light on the comparative institutional environment in each industry. The American combination of fragmented power, little reliance on bureaucratic expertise, an independent judiciary, and opposing interest groups greatly undermines the ability of the U.S. government to credibly commit to the nuclear power industry. In France, despite substantial anti-nuclear interest groups, the impermeability of the institutional setup-no division of power, weak judiciary, and reliance on bureaucratic expertise-effectively prevents activists from influencing policy outcome

Published Work | 2001 | Journal of Policy Analysis and Management

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