The politics of regulatory change: a tale of two agencies
The past two decades have seen remarkable change in American regulatory politics. The reemergence of public interest movements in the sixties and seventies served to expand dramatically the government's role in the protection of public health, the consumer, and the environment. The far-reaching effects of this new regulatory regime in turn precipitated a countermovement--spearheaded by the Reagan Administration--to restrict social and economic regulation. Examining two of the most influential regulatory agencies--the Federal Trade Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency--this study assesses the long-term consequences of the Reagan Administration's curtailment of social regulation. The F.T.C. and the E.P.A. together represent the spectrum of regulatory bodies--one an independent commission and product of the Progressive era and the other an executive agency created in the last wave of public activism. Richard Harris and Stanley Milkis find that the Administration's program of regulatory relief faced a remarkably resilient policy process. Reform, the authors contend, is most effective when an agency head proposes an alternative philosophical framework based on stricter research standards and policies incorporating economic considerations--as was the case at the F.T.C.--and least effective when a director strives to undermine agency functions for no purpose other than regulatory relief--as Ann Burford did at the E.P.A. They also show how Congress has firmly resisted all efforts to enact the fundamental institutional reforms required for prolonged regulatory change. This important study will be of great interest to a broad range of scholars and professionals concerned with the political, economic, legal, or business aspects of regulatory policy.
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1 Regulation Deregulation and the Administrative State
and Regulatory Change
J6 Regulation and Deregulation at the Environmental
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