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What is Regulation?

Noll, Roger G. (1980) What is Regulation? Social Science Working Paper, 324. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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The economics literature contains no consistent, generally accepted definition of regulation. Some standard references define regulation as the control of prices, profits and entry in the utility sector, while others include in the definition literally every public policy that alters market outcomes, including tariffs, commodity-specific taxes, and import quotas. This paper argues that definitions should have a basis in theory, and that regulatory research suggests three levels of generality of public policy that correspond to coherent theoretical analysis: the previous two, plus an intermediate level that covers the use of administrative processes to control private market interactions. Regulation is argued to be most appropriately applied to this intermediate level, and examples are given to justify the usefulness of the proposed classification scheme.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:Presented at the Conference on the Growth of Regulation, July 1979. Sponsored by the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and PeaceUNSPECIFIED
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:324
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171010-152750697
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82267
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:11 Oct 2017 18:16
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:52

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