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Elected versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence

  • Stephen Coate
  • Timothy Besley

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7579.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7579.

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Date of creation: Mar 2000
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Publication status: published as Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, 09.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7579
Note: IO PE
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  1. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  2. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  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. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 265-86, April.
  7. David P. Baron, 1988. "Regulation and Legislative Choice," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 467-477, Autumn.
  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. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1996. "Industrial policy and politics," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-27.
  10. Paul Joskow & Nancy L. Rose, 1987. "The Effects of Economic Regulation," Working papers 447, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1992. "Protection For Sale," NBER Working Papers 4149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
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