Negotiated Settlements: The development of economic and legal thinking
The Federal Power Commission pioneered the use of negotiated settlements in the early 1960s as a means of coping with an increased workload and backlog. Legal scholars have emphasized the importance of settlements in coping with the regulatory load, and in saving time and money, albeit with some concern about transparency and the treatment of non-unanimous settlements. More recently, however, they suggest that settlements better serve the needs of the parties, allow greater flexibility and innovation, and can achieve results that lie beyond traditional regulatory authority. Recent economic research has indicated the high proportion of regulatory cases dealt with by settlements in the US and Canada and confirmed that settlements are not simply a more efficient way of doing the same thing as regulation. Rather, they involve considerable innovation, notably the introduction of price caps and other incentive mechanisms that otherwise would not have been likely or even possible.
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