The Politics of Regulation

James Q. Wilson, editor, The Politics of Regulation (Basic Books, 1980, 1982).

In the late 1970s, Wilson sent some of his students out to explore the politics of regulation — “how goals were determined, conflict resolved or managed, standards set, and policy enforced” — in government agencies in order to test empirically some prominent economic theories — principally “capture” theory — of bureaucratic behavior that Wilson thought were misguided. In the concluding chapter, Wilson more fully develops his theory about the distributional effects of policies that he had explored initially in the final chapter of Political Organizations.