Saturday, December 12, 2009

Government and Markets

Earlier this year I posted links to the papers presented to a conference sponsored by the Tobin Project on "Government and Markets.” The conference volume is now out: Government and Markets: Toward a New Theory of Regulation, ed. Edward Balleisen and David Moss (Cambridge University Press). The Press writes:
After two generations of emphasis on governmental inefficiency and the need for deregulation, we now see growing interest in the possibility of constructive governance, alongside public calls for new, smarter regulation. Yet there is a real danger that regulatory reforms will be rooted in outdated ideas. As the financial crisis has shown, neither traditional market failure models nor public choice theory, by themselves, sufficiently inform or explain our current regulatory challenges. Regulatory studies, long neglected in an atmosphere focused on deregulatory work, is in critical need of new models and theories that can guide effective policy-making. This interdisciplinary volume points the way toward the modernization of regulatory theory. Its essays by leading scholars move past predominant approaches, integrating the latest research about the interplay between human behavior, societal needs, and regulatory institutions. The book concludes by setting out a potential research agenda for the social sciences.
Of special interest to historians are “From 'state interference' to the 'return to the market': the rhetoric of economic regulation from the old Gilded Age to the New” by Mary O. Furner; “Prospects for economic 'self-regulation' in the United States: an historian's view from the early twenty-first century” by Edward J. Balleisen; “Deregulation theories in a litigious society: American antitrust and tort” by Tony Freyer; and "The Paranoid Style in the Study of American Politics" by David Moss and Mary Oey. Other essays with a strongly historical orientation include the sociologist Neil Fligstein's “Lessons from Europe: Some Reflections on the European Union and the Regulation of Business”; the economics graduate student Jessica Leight's “Public Choice: A Critical Reassessment”; and the political scientist Marc Allen Eisner's “Markets in the Shadow of the State: An Appraisal of Deregulation and Implications for Future Research.”