A Caltech Library Service

Legislative choice of regulatory forms: Legal process or administrative process?

Fiorina, Morris P. (1982) Legislative choice of regulatory forms: Legal process or administrative process? Public Choice, 39 (1). pp. 33-66. ISSN 0048-5829. doi:10.1007/BF00242147.

[img] PDF (sswp 387 - published) - Published Version
Restricted to Caltech community only
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


A paper like this does not lend itself to conclusions. The unifying theme of the paper is a question: when and why does Congress choose to modify social and/or economic behavior by establishing a regulatory agency rather than by writing a law to be enforced in the courts? This is a special case of the more general question of why politicians delegate their power to administrators. I have not sought to answer that question in any definite way; rather, I have tried to identify some of the potential answers, most of which are mutually compatible, all of which have some support in the literature, and few of which have been dealt with systematically by modern political economists. I have ignored certain answers that appear in the literature — the complexity of modern problems, the demands on legislator time, and so forth. These may have some effect on what Congress decides to delegate, but in the main I believe they are largely rationalizations which scholars are too quick to believe. Where politicians have the incentive, they manage to deal with complexity, and they find the time to do it. It is our job to identify those incentives and trace their implications for the formation of public policy in this country. Without denigrating the work that has been done, it is fair to say that our work is only beginning, despite the extravagant claims of some authors to the contrary.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemSocial Science Working Paper 387
Additional Information:© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1982. 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.
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171006-112622748
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Fiorina, M.P. Public Choice (1982) 39: 33.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82164
Deposited By: Katherine Johnson
Deposited On:06 Oct 2017 18:33
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:48

Repository Staff Only: item control page