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The State, Regulation and the Economy

An Historical Perspective Edited by Lars Magnusson, Professor of Economic History, Department of Economic History, Uppsala University, Sweden and Jan Ottosson, Associate Professor, Department of Economic History, Uppsala University, Sweden
Regulatory regimes appear wherever market economies exist and whenever there is competition for limited resources. However, the rationale of public regulation of markets, as well as the mechanisms that characterise regulatory regimes, is not well understood. The State, Regulation and the Economy illustrates how economic theory, whether positive or normative, is not convincing in explaining the complex interactions between the state and the market. Instead, the book examines regulation and state intervention from an institutional and historical perspective.
Extent: 240 pp
Hardback Price: £80.00 Web: £72.00
Publication Date: 2001
ISBN: 978 1 84064 128 8
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economic History
Regulatory regimes appear wherever market economies exist and whenever there is competition for limited resources. However, the rationale of public regulation of markets, as well as the mechanisms that characterise regulatory regimes, is not well understood. The State, Regulation and the Economy illustrates how economic theory, whether positive or normative, is not convincing in explaining the complex interactions between the state and the market. Instead, the book examines regulation and state intervention from an institutional and historical perspective.

Utilising empirical evidence from Scandinavia and the US, the authors argue that the form and content of state interventionism is strongly influenced by historical and path dependent factors, and go on to propose an approach which illuminates the role of specific historical events in forming regulatory policy. Various aspects of regulation are discussed with reference to infrastructure and network industries, one of the few areas in the economy where the role of the state has changed dramatically during the past two decades. The authors believe that the fast changing attitudes and policies towards regulation might be better understood by applying a longer time horizon combined with analysis based on new institutional economics.

Scholars of economics, business administration, economic history and political science, as well as those wishing to gain a greater insight into the historical dimension of regulation, will find this an original and valuable book.
‘. . . this book is a collection of well written, very interesting and informative essays that should be valuable to scholars and professional practitioners in the fields of economic history and political science.’
– Fredrik Wilander, Scandinavian Economic History Review

‘This collection of papers provides important and refreshing context to today’s issues, reminding us that the debate over effective regulation is not new and that today’s regulations have historical roots . . . Overall, The State, Regulation and the Economy provides a thoughtful collection of papers that give good historical context to contemporary regulatory issues. It reminds us that today's regulations have historical roots that not only help explain why regulations look the way they do, but also that the historical evolution of regulation can help us understand issues facing regulatory policy today.’
– Scott Wallsten, The Journal of Economic History

‘Occasionally . . . studies come along that take seriously the charge that historians perform genuinely historical studies, in which early events can endure and have lasting impacts on future outcomes (so-called path dependence). The State Regulation and the Economy is an ambitious foray into this area . . . The State, Regulation and the Economy is an excellent volume which I very much enjoyed reading. It is a productive collaboration of practitioners of different disciplines, and provides much useful information and interpretation of the long-term regulatory experiences of two quite different economies. The editors are to be commended for attempting to fill an important gap in the literature on comparative institutional change.’
– Mark Kanazawa, EH.Net
Contributors: L. Andersson-Skog, F. Dobbin, T. Dowd, C.A. Dunlavy, C. Jeding, R.N. Johnson, G.D. Libecap, L. Magnusson, J. Ottosson, T. Pettersson, S. Steinmo
Contents: 1. Private Actors, Policy Regulation and the Role of History: An Introduction Part I: General Aspects of Regulation and Institution Decision Making 2. Information Distortion by Politicians and Constituent Groups in Promoting Regulatory Transfers 3. Bursting Through State Limits 4. Origins of the Myth of Neo-Liberalism 5. Taxation, Redistribution and Regulation 6. The Role of Path Dependence in the History of Regulation Part II: Sweden as a Role Model of a Regulated Economy 7. Introduction 8. Compensating the Periphery 9. The State and Regulatory Orders in Early European Civil Aviation 10. Liberalization and Control 11. From Informal Practice to Formal Policy Bibliography Index