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Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence

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  • Timothy Besley

    (London School of Economics)

  • Stephen Coate

    (Cornell University)

Abstract

This paper contrasts direct election with political appointment of regulators. When regulators are appointed, regulatory policy becomes bundled with other policy issues the appointing politicians are responsible for. Because voters have only one vote to cast and regulatory issues are not salient for most voters, there are electoral incentives to respond to stakeholder interests. If regulators are elected, their stance on regulation is the only salient issue so that the electoral incentive is to run a pro-consumer candidate. Using panel data on regulatory outcomes from U.S. states, we find new evidence in favor of the idea that elected states are more pro-consumer in their regulatory policies. (JEL: H1, K2) Copyright (c) 2003 The European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 1 (2003)
Issue (Month): 5 (09)
Pages: 1176-1206

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:1:y:2003:i:5:p:1176-1206

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  1. David P. Baron, 1988. "Regulation and Legislative Choice," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 467-477, Autumn.
  2. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 265-86, April.
  3. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 162, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  4. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
  5. P. L. Joskow & R. G. Noll, 1978. "Regulation in Theory and Practice: An Overview," Working papers 218, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Peter Navarro, 1982. "Public Utility Commission Regulation: Performance, Determinants, and Energy Policy Impacts," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 119-140.
  7. P. Joskow, 1974. "Inflation and Environmental Concern: Structural Change in the Process of Public Utility Price Regulation," Working papers 128, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Walter J. Primeaux, Jr. & Patrick C. Mann, 1986. "Regulator Selection Methods and Electricity Prices," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 62(1), pages 1-13.
  9. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  10. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1996. "Industrial policy and politics," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-27.
  11. Paul Joskow & Nancy L. Rose, 1987. "The Effects of Economic Regulation," Working papers 447, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  13. Norton, Seth W, 1985. "Regulation and Systematic Risk: The Case of Electric Utilities," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 671-86, October.
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