Regulatory Studies

A Regulatory Studies Reading List

Prepared by Peter Van Doren

Read This First

On the Benefits of Deregulation

  • "Paternalism andPsychology" by Edward L. Glaeser (Regulation vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 32-38, 2006)
    An increasingly large body of evidence on bounded rationality has led many scholars to question economics’ traditional hostility towards paternalism. But if individuals’ ability to make rational decisions is limited, wouldn’t some paternal overseer’s ability also be limited?
  • "U.S. Industry Adjustment to Economic Deregulation" by Clifford Winston (Journal of Economic Perspectives 12: 3, Summer 1998, pp. 89-110)
    A readable narrative summary by a leading regulatory economist.
  • "The Economic Theory of Regulation After a Decade of Deregulation" by Sam Peltzman (Brookings Papers on Economic Activity Microeconomics 1989 , pp. 1-59 )
    A comparison of predictions and reality by a leading author in the “ Chicago ” School, which posits that regulation is supplied by the legislature in return for votes and campaign contributions.
  • "Bootleggers and Baptists in Retrospect" by Bruce Yandle (Regulation vol. 22, no. 3, 1999, pp. 5-7)
    Describes how the “bootlegger” benefits of regulation at the core of the “Chicago” theory are not sufficient to explain the political support for regulation. One also needs “Baptists” who supply the moral rationale that provides cover for the bootleggers' benefits.

From Regulation's 25th Anniversary Issue

On Agriculture Subsidies

  • “Reform's Stunted Crop” by David Orden (Regulation vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 26-32, 2002)
    Describes Congress's complete retreat from the reforms of the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act.

On Banking and Capital Market Regulation

  • "Why Do We Regulate Banks?" by Peter J. Wallison (Regulation vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 14-19, 2005)
  • “Beyond GAAP” by Robert Litan and Peter Wallison (Regulation vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 50-55, 2003)
    Observes that the most important assets of the modern corporation are good will and human capital. Neither can be measured easily under traditional accounting standards and the latter isn't even owned by the corporation.

On Corporate Governance

  • "Quack Corporate Governance" by Roberta Romano (Regulation vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 36-44, 2005)
    An extensive empirical literature suggests that mandates passed as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are not likely to improve audit quality or otherwise enhance firm performance and thereby benefit investors as Congress intended.

On Electricity Regulation

On Food and Drug Regulation

  • "Food Risks and Labeling Controversies” by Henry I. Miller and Peter Van Doren (Regulation , vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 35-39, 2000)
    Examines the circumstances under which firms disclose health and information voluntarily as part of a business strategy rather than legal compulsion.
  • “Between- vs. Within-Patent Competition” by Tomas J. Philipson and Carolanne Dai (Regulation , vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 42-48, 2003)
    Argues that competition among patented drugs within a therapeutic class rather than competition from generic substitutes is the main mechanism by which pharmaceutical profits are reduced.

On Urban Transportation and Land Use

  • "Zoning's Steep Price” by Edward Glaeser and Joseph Gyourko (Regulation , vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 24-30, 2002)
    Argues that 90 percent of land value in urban east and west coasts is the result of zoning.
  • Alternate Route by Clifford Winston (Brookings, 1998)
    Argues that transit subsidies mainly benefit transit workers. Recommends privatization of urban transit and highways.