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Economic Regulation and Its ReformWhat Have We Learned?$
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Nancy L. Rose

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226138022

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226138169.001.0001

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Learning from the Past

Learning from the Past

Insights for the Regulation of Economic Activity

(p.1) Learning from the Past
Economic Regulation and Its Reform

Nancy L. Rose

University of Chicago Press

The legacy of regulatory reform and privatization has come under increasing attack since the recent financial crisis. This volume analyzes the history of regulation and its reform across various industries to extract important lessons for the design and execution of government policy. There are several broad themes. First, even modest differences in market and regulatory institutions can yield substantial differences in outcomes; a “one size fits all” regulatory prescription is unlikely. Second, incentives embedded in regulatory structures drive firm behavior and, if misunderstood, may yield unintended consequences. Third, innovations can change not only market opportunities, but also the regulatory game. Static regulation that does not keep pace with a dynamic industry may become increasingly irrelevant. Finally, while we have learned much about the design and execution of more effective and efficient regulation, regulatory instruments remain inherently imperfect, and policymakers confront a tradeoff between imperfect markets and imperfect regulation. Regulatory and policy responses subsequent to the 2008 financial crisis suggest that many of these insights have yet to be fully recognized. This may reflect the political economy of regulation, but if it arises from unfamiliarity with the lessons of past regulation, this work is intended to help fill the gap.

Keywords:   antitrust, competition, economic regulation, deregulation, risk regulation, market failure, financial regulation

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