The effectiveness of market discipline—the strong built-in incentives that encourage banks and financial systems to operate soundly and efficiently—commands much attention today, particularly in light of recent accounting scandals. As government discipline, in the form of regulation, seems to grows less effective as the banking industry and financial markets grow more complex, the role of market discipline becomes increasingly important.
Public Regulation studies the formation of institutions and government policies that regulate industry, offering new data, new contexts, and new tools for analyzing the structure and performance of regulatory activity. It addresses both how these institutions and policies came into being and how well or poorly they work. The contributors examine them variously, from economic, political, social, and historical points of view.
M. A. Adelman is one of the preeminent authorities on the economics of mineral resources. This book brings together his work, written over the past thirty years, on mineral depletion and the nature of monopoly in world oil. Organized into three groups, the twenty-seven papers cover theory and measurement of mineral scarcity and depletion, analysis of the OPEC cartel and control of the oil market, and public policy problems and options.
Media have been central to government efforts to reinforce sovereignty and define national identity, but globalization is fundamentally altering media practices, institutions, and content. More than the activities of large conglomerates, globalization entails competition among states as well as private entities to dominate the world's consciousness. Changes in formal and informal rules, in addition to technological innovation, affect the growth and survival or decline of governments.
Network utilities, such as electricity, telephones, and gas, are public utilities that require a fixed network to deliver their services. Because consumers have no choice of network, they risk exploitation by network owners. Once invested, however, a network's capital is sunk, and the bargaining advantage shifts from investor to consumer. The investor, fearing expropriation, may be reluctant to invest. The tension between consumer and investor can be side-stepped by state ownership.
Until the 1980s, it was presumed that technical change in most communications services could easily be monitored from centralized state and federal agencies. This presumption was long outdated prior to the commercialization of the Internet. With the Internet, the long-forecast convergence of voice, video, and text bits became a reality. Legislation, capped by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, created new quasi-standards such as "fair" and "reasonable" for the FCC and courts to apply, leading to nonstop litigation and occasional gridlock.
This book provides a framework for thinking about the law and cyberspace, examining the extent to which the Internet is currently under control and the extent to which it can or should be controlled. It focuses in part on the proliferation of MP3 file sharing, a practice made possible by the development of a file format that enables users to store large audio files with near-CD sound quality on a computer. By 1998, software available for free on the Web enabled users to copy existing digital files from CDs.
This landmark theoretical book is about the mechanisms by which special interest groups affect policy in modern democracies. Defining a special interest group as any organization that takes action on behalf of an identifiable group of voters, Gene Grossman and Elhanan Helpman ask: How do special interest groups derive their power and influence? What determines the extent to which they are able to affect policy outcomes? What happens when groups with differing objectives compete for influence?
The underlying theme of Rudi Dornbusch's work is unabashedly Chicago, namely, the University of Chicago belief that markets solve problems best and that most bureaucrats, even when well-intentioned, are distracted by politics or excessive zeal for perfect solutions. Dornbusch seeks to challenge those in charge with alternative answers and to limit their ambitions.