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Legislative Choice of Regulatory Forms: Legal Process or Administrative Process?

Fiorina, Morris P. (1982) Legislative Choice of Regulatory Forms: Legal Process or Administrative Process? Social Science Working Paper, 387. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA.

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Perhaps because of the importance and visibility of some regulatory agencies and commissions, numerous observers have come to regard the administrative form of regulation as the “logical“ or “natural“ method of intervening in the economy or society. In fact, however, regulation comes in a variety of forms. The administrative form might seem all pervasive upon first consideration, but a variety of legislative enactments clearly regulatory in effect such as large portions of the tax code, direct government subsidies and so forth suggest that delegation of legislative authority to administrative entities is, not so universal as is often assumed. Moreover, when viewed in historical perspective, choice of bureaucratic implementation of regulatory programs does not obviously emerge as the “logical“ or “natural“ method, at least not in the view of many political actors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This paper surveys a heterogeneous body of literature on the subject of regulatory origin in order to identify proposed explanations for legislative choice of administrative forms of regulation in preference to judicial enforcement of legislative enactments. The focus of the survey is on the choices made by legislators and the considerations underlying their choices. Among the latter are (1) beliefs in the inherent superiority of administrative forms, (2) efforts to escape the costs, political and otherwise, of regulating directly, (3) ideologies supportive of delegation to administrators, and (4) uncertainty about the future operation of the regulatory process. These ideas are examined in an exploratory spirit; no firm conclusions are drawn at this time.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription ItemLater Published Version in Public Choice
Additional Information:Revised. Original dated to May 1981. Prepared for delivery at the Carnegie-Mellon Conference on Political Economy, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 1-2, 1981. For helpful comments and suggestions, I thank John Ferejohn, Roger Noll, Kenneth Shepsle, Barry Weingast, and participants in the Washington University Regulation Workshop and the Carnegie-Mellon Conference. Published as Fiorina, Morris P. "Legislative choice of regulatory forms: Legal process or administrative process?." Public Choice 39.1 (1982): 33-66.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:387
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171005-140019465
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82125
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:06 Oct 2017 18:29
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:51

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