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Elected versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence

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  • Stephen Coate
  • Timothy Besley

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. Since regulatory issues are not salient for most voters, regulatory policy outcomes reflect the preferences of party elites and special interests. Direct election of regulators strengthens the power of voters by ensuring the salience of regulatory issues. Using panel data on regulatory outcomes from U.S. states, we find evidence in favor of the idea that elected states are more pro-consumer in their regulatory policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Coate & Timothy Besley, 2000. "Elected versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7579 Note: IO PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
    2. Joskow, Paul L. & Rose, Nancy L., 1989. "The effects of economic regulation," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 25, pages 1449-1506 Elsevier.
    3. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
    4. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    5. David P. Baron, 1988. "Regulation and Legislative Choice," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 467-477, Autumn.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:01:p:33-47_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Joskow, Paul L, 1974. "Inflation and Environmental Concern: Structural Change in the Process of Public Utility Price Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 291-327, October.
    8. Paul L. Joskow & Roger G. Noll, 1981. "Regulation in Theory and Practice: An Overview," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in Public Regulation, pages 1-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 265-286.
    10. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1996. "Industrial policy and politics," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-27.
    11. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinski, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96.
    12. 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.
    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 671-686, October.
    14. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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