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The Rise of the Regulatory State

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Andrei Shleifer

Abstract

During the Progressive Era at the beginning of the 20 th century, the United States replaced litigation by regulation as the principal mechanism of social control of business. To explain why this happened, we present a model of choice of law enforcement strategy between litigation and regulation based on the idea that justice can be subverted with sufficient expenditure of resources. The model suggests that courts are more vulnerable to subversion than regulators, especially in an environment of significant inequality of wealth and political power. The switch to regulation can then be seen as an efficient response to the subversion of justice by robber barons during the Gilded Age. The model makes sense of the progressive reform agenda, and of the successes and failures of alternative law enforcement strategies in different countries.

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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1934.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1934

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  1. Steven Shavell, 1983. "Liability for Harm Versus Regulation of Safety," NBER Working Papers 1218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "A Reason for Quantity Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 431-435, May.
  3. Simeon Djankov & Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, . "The Regulation of Entry," Working Paper 19462, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  4. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Legal Origins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1193-1229, November.
  6. Gilligan, Thomas W. & Marshall, William J. & Weingast, Barry R., 1987. "Regulation and the Theory of Legislative Choice: The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887," Working Papers 628, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  7. Polinsky, Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1979. "The Optimal Tradeoff between the Probability and Magnitude of Fines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 880-91, December.
  8. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
  9. Steven Shavell, 2003. "Economic Analysis of Accident Law," NBER Working Papers 9483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Summers, Lawrence H. & Dickens, William T. & Katz, Lawrence F. & Lang, Kevin, 1989. "Employee Crime and the Monitoring Puzzle," Scholarly Articles 3645199, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Maxim Boycko & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1993. "Privatizing Russia," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 139-192.
  12. Edward L. Glaeser, 2001. "Public Ownership in the American City," NBER Working Papers 8613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Edward L. Glaeser, 2001. "Public Ownership in the American City," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1930, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. Steven Shavell, 1984. "A Model of the Optimal Use of Liability and Safety Regulation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 271-280, Summer.
  15. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 2002. "Economic analysis of law," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 25, pages 1661-1784 Elsevier.
  16. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  17. Price V. Fishback & Shawn Everett Kantor, 2000. "A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers' Compensation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fish00-1, octubre-d.
  18. Edward Glaeser & Simon Johnson & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "Coase Versus The Coasians," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 853-899, August.
  19. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1996. "Whither Socialism?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691825, December.
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