Public Choice

, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp 247–256

The economic theory of regulation and trucking deregulation: Shifting to the state level


  • Paul Teske
    • Political Science DepartmentSUNY Stony Brook
  • Samuel Best
    • Political Science DepartmentSUNY Stony Brook
  • Michael Mintrom
    • Political Science DepartmentSUNY Stony Brook

DOI: 10.1007/BF01047772

Cite this article as:
Teske, P., Best, S. & Mintrom, M. Public Choice (1994) 79: 247. doi:10.1007/BF01047772


Federal deregulation of the trucking industry in 1980 created a general gain in economic welfare at the expense of the monopoly rents of powerful interests, leading some scholars to ponder the limitations of the economic theory of regulation. However, analyzing only the federal changes excludes evidence from the significant intrastate sector of the trucking industry, regulation of which remains largely unchanged from that prior to 1980. This paper argues that after a decade of clear federal policy success, truckers continue to capture most state regulators, sustaining monopoly rents in what would otherwise be an inherently competitive industry. Using data from the fifty states, we demonstrate the extent to which the economic theory is in fact consistent with trucking industry evidence.

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994