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Presidential Management of the Bureaucracy: The Reform of Motor Carrier Regulation at the ICC

Rothenberg, Lawrence S. (1987) Presidential Management of the Bureaucracy: The Reform of Motor Carrier Regulation at the ICC. Social Science Working Paper, 656. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Deregulation of the motor freight industry poses a serious challenge to social scientists' understanding of how regulatory systems operate. In this research, it is argued that the dismantling of the regulatory regime at the Interstate Commerce Commission was a product of presidential management of the bureaucracy through guidance of the status quo. Reform was a function of neither group influence nor a transition from one structure-induced equilibrium to another. None of the variety of alternative explanations fare any better. It was the chief executive's ability to capitalize on presidential resources through strategic utilization of political rules and processes that was fundamental. In a world characterized by imperfect information and bounded rationality, presidents have opportunities for manipulating the status quo and circumventing the policy preference of regulatees and legislators. Motor carrier reform is simply an extreme example of a general phenomenon. Besides simply highlighting the need to incorporate additional actors into political economy models of bureaucratic behavior, this research shows that careful attention must be paid to detailing how these rules and processes affect bureaucratic performance.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:A large number of people have made helpful suggestions and raised challenging questions: Jonathon Bendor, Bruce Cain, Thomas Gilligan, Thomas Hammond, Mark Hanson, Rod Kiewiet, Terry Moe, and Barbara Rothenberg. This research is part of a larger effort (Rothenberg 1987). The evidence and conclusions are based not only on the publications cited, but also on anonymous interviews conducted between 1984 and 1986 while the author was at the Brookings Institution.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:656
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170907-155902844
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81253
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:08 Sep 2017 20:52
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:40

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