"Regulation" has long been a venomous term in the conservative vocabulary, and "deregulation" (of the airlines and the trucking industry) has recently acquired a benign definition in the liberal lexicon. Across the political spectrum, there has been growing distrust of regulators, their motives, and their methods. The naive assumption that regulation necessarily operates in the public interest has been replaced by a healthy skepticism in some quarters, and by a facile (and often self-serving) cynicism in others. And yet the public goals of regulation are still widely regarded as desirable: the proper alternative to poor regulatory performance may not always be deregulation—finer-tuned legislation and better implementation might promote the common good more effectively. The regulatory agencies need to be regulated and made self-regulating, rather than simply abolished.
Such general issues and case reports on specific industries, agencies, and policies are examined in Studies in Public Regulation. The book is based on papers presented at a conference jointly sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the National Science Foundation, and its contributors are economists and public policy specialists of national reputation.
Contributors include: Paul L. Joskow, Roger G. Noll, Robert D. Willig, Elizabeth E. Bailey, Patricia Munch, Dennis Smallwood, Richard C. Levin, Robert A. Leone, John E. Jackson, Melvyn A. Fuss, Leonard Waverman, Kenneth C. Baseman, and Sam Peltzman.
A Regulation of Economic Activity series paperback.
"This is a stimulating collection .... Each [paper] makes an original contribution to some aspect of the economics of regulation. There is a very useful overview of the literature. The book also includes: the development of a methodology for integrating income distribution concerns into regulatory policy; an analysis of the case for solvency regulation of the insurance industry; an argument for barriers to exit rather than rate regulation as the major cause of the poor profitability and investment performance of U.S. railroads; an analysis of the political economy of water pollution controls; an analysis of rate of return regulation in the context of a multiproduct firm; and a contribution to the theory of sustainability and cross subsidization in regulated markets. These papers are all set in the wider context of the literature on regulation and the impact of that literature on public policy."
- Journal of Policy Analysis and Management