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Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence

  • Timothy Besley

    (London School of Economics)

  • Stephen Coate

    (Cornell University)

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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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. Paul Joskow & Nancy L. Rose, 1987. "The Effects of Economic Regulation," Working papers 447, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  5. 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.
  6. Joskow, Paul L. & Noll, Roger G., . "Regulation in Theory and Practice: An Overview," Working Papers 213, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  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. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. David P. Baron, 1988. "Regulation and Legislative Choice," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 467-477, Autumn.
  11. Gene Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," NBER Working Papers 4877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1996. "Industrial policy and politics," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-27.
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