Economic Regulation and Its Reform: What Have We Learned?
The past thirty years have witnessed a transformation of government economic intervention in broad segments of industry throughout the world. Many industries historically subject to economic price and entry controls have been largely deregulated, including natural gas, trucking, airlines, and commercial banking. However, recent concerns about market power in restructured electricity markets, instability amid chronic financial stress in the airline industry, and the challenges created by the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which allowed commercial banks to participate in investment banking, have led to calls for renewed market intervention.
Economic Regulation and Its Reform collects research by a group of distinguished scholars who explore a wide range of issues surrounding government economic intervention. The essays observe that assessing the costs and benefits of such intervention requires a careful analysis of its consequences and a recognition that actual regulation is likely to deviate from the regulatory prescriptions of economic theory. The contributors point out that government interventions may take a variety of forms, from relatively nonintrusive performance-based regulations to more aggressive antitrust and competition policies and barriers to entry. This volume introduces the key issues surrounding economic regulation, provides an assessment of the economic effects of regulatory reforms over the past three decades, and examines how these insights bear on some of today’s most significant concerns in regulatory policy.