1st Edition

Regulatory Politics in an Age of Polarization and Drift Beyond Deregulation

By Marc Allen Eisner Copyright 2017
    306 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    306 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Regulatory change is typically understood as a response to significant crises like the Great Depression, or salient events that focus public attention, like Earth Day 1970. Without discounting the importance of these kinds of events, change often assumes more gradual and less visible forms. But how do we ‘see’ change, and what institutions and processes are behind it? In this book, author Marc Eisner brings these questions to bear on the analysis of regulatory change, walking the reader through a clear-eyed and careful examination of:

    • the dynamics of regulatory change since the 1970s
    • social regulation and institutional design
    • forms of gradual change – including conversion, layering, and drift
    • gridlock, polarization, and the privatization of regulation
    • financial collapse and the anatomy of regulatory failure

    Demonstrating that transparency and accountability – the hallmarks of public regulation – are increasingly absent, and that deregulation was but one factor in our most recent significant financial collapse, the Great Recession, this book urges readers to look beyond deregulation and consider the broader political implications for our current system of voluntary participation in regulatory programs and the proliferation of public-private partnerships. This book provides an accessible introduction to the complex topic of regulatory politics, ideal for upper-level and graduate courses on regulation, government and business, bureaucratic politics, and public policy.

    About the Author



    List of Figures


    Chapter One: A Tale of Two Crises

    Chapter Two: Making Sense of Regulatory Change

    Chapter Three: Competing Approaches to Institutional Design

    Chapter Four: Costs, Benefits, and Battles over the Regulatory State

    Chapter Five: Polarization, Gridlock, and Regulatory Drift

    Chapter Six: Environmental Protection and the Persistence of Partnerships

    Chapter Seven: Workplace Safety and the Return of the Voluntary Regulator

    Chapter Eight: Deepwater Drift and the Disaster in the Gulf

    Chapter Nine: Regulating the Wrong Things and the Financial Crisis

    Chapter Ten: Beyond Deregulation




    Marc Allen Eisner is Dean of the Social Sciences, Henry Merritt Wriston Chair of Public Policy, and Professor of Government at Wesleyan University, USA. He is the author of several books, most recently The American Political Economy, 2e (Routledge, 2014, named CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title) and (with James Gosling) Economics, Politics, and American Public Policy, 2e (Routledge, 2013).