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A Case for Quantity Regulation

  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Andrei Shleifer

Contrary to the standard economic advice, many regulations of financial intermediaries, as well as other regulations such as blue laws, fishing rules, zoning restrictions, or pollution controls, take the form of quantity controls rather than taxes. We argue that costs of enforcement are crucial to understanding these choices. When violations of quantity regulations are cheaper to discover than failures to pay taxes, the former can emerge as the optimal instrument for the government, even when it is less attractive in the absence of enforcement costs. This analysis is especially relevant to situations where private enforcement of regulations is crucial.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8184.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8184.

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Date of creation: Mar 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8184
Note: CF LE PE
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  1. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2002. "On the Superiority of Corrective Taxes to Quantity Regulation," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, January.
  2. Hay, Jonathan R & Shleifer, Andrei, 1998. "Private Enforcement of Public Laws: A Theory of Legal Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 398-403, May.
  3. Edward Glaeser & Simon Johnson & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "Coase Versus The Coasians," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 853-899, August.
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