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Economic and Ideological Corruptions of the Regulatory State

  • Symposium: The Scope and Reach of the Regulatory State
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Abstract

What accounts for the excesses of the regulatory state? Economists have shown that bad regulations are often due to “rent seeking” and “regulatory capture” and have provided compelling accounts of the incentives that drive these processes. However, there remain many unwarranted regulations, such as recent gun control measures, that cannot be explained by an economic rationale. Rather, it is essential to understand the distinctively ideological origins and functions of such regulations. This paper examines both the economic and ideological corruptions on the regulatory state, suggesting that those concerned with the growth of state power will have to address both of these phenomena.

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Notes

  1. Fiorina, Morris. “America’s Polarized Politics: Causes and Solutions.” Perspectives on Politics. Sept 2013.

  2. “A Conversation with Peter Thiel” The American Interest, March/April 2012. http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1187

  3. Carey, Maeve P. “Counting Regulations: An Overview of Rulemaking, Types of Federal Regulations, and Pages in the Federal Register,” http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43056.pdf

  4. Stephanie Simon, “A License to Shampoo: Jobs Needing State Approval Rise,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2012, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703445904576118030935929752.html.

  5. See, for example: Ignacio Del Rosal, “The Empirical Measurement of Rent-Seeking Costs,” Journal of Economic Surveys 25.2 (2011): 298–325; Russell S. Sobel and Thomas A. Garrett, “On the Measurement of Rent Seeking and Its Social Opportunity Cost,” Public Choice 112.1–2 (2002): 115–137; Matthew Mitchell, “The Pathology of Privilege: The Economic Consequences of Government Favoritism,” Mercatus Research Paper (2012), http://mercatus.org/sites/default/files/The-Pathology-of-Privilege-Final_2.pdf; and Morris M. Kleiner and Alan B. Krueger, “The Prevalence and Effects of Occupational Licensing,” British Journal of Industrial Relations 48.4 (2010): 676–687.

  6. John Carney, “Surprise! Dodd-Frank Helps JPMorgan Chase,” NetNet CNBC, February 4, 2013, http://www.cnbc.com/id/100431660.

  7. Lawrence Lessig, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It (Twelve, 2011), 138.

  8. Wayne Crews and Ryan Young, “The Anti-Democracy Index,” American Spectator, February 8, 2013, http://spectator.org/archives/2013/02/08/the-anti-democracy-index.

  9. These figures are all drawn from the Center for Disease Control website. http://www.cdc.gov/

  10. Lott, John. “Concealed weapons save lives” New York Daily News. July 25, 2012. http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/concealed-weapons-save-lives-article-1.1121161

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Correspondence to William English.

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English, W. Economic and Ideological Corruptions of the Regulatory State. Soc 51, 262–267 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-014-9774-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-014-9774-1

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