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.