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Regulatory Capture: A Review


  • Ernesto Dal Bo´


This article reviews both the theoretical and empirical literatures on regulatory capture. The scope is broad, but utility regulation is emphasized. I begin by describing the Stigler--Peltzman approach to the economics of regulation. I then open the black box of influence and regulatory discretion using a three-tier hierarchical agency model under asymmetric information (in the spirit of Laffont and Tirole, 1993). I discuss alternative modelling approaches with a view to a richer set of positive predictions, including models of common agency, revolving doors, informational lobbying, coercive pressure, and influence over committees. I discuss empirical work involving capture and regulatory outcomes. I also review evidence on the revolving-door phenomenon and on the impact that different methods for selecting regulators appear to have on regulatory outcomes. The last section contains open questions for future research. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernesto Dal Bo´, 2006. "Regulatory Capture: A Review," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press and Oxford Review of Economic Policy Limited, vol. 22(2), pages 203-225, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:22:y:2006:i:2:p:203-225

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