Was the so-called Reagan Revolution a disappointment? Many of the Administration's friends as well as its opponents think so. But under what criteria? To what extent? And why? These are the questions that Regulation and the Reagan Era ponders. When Reagan was elected in 1980, there was popular belief that the size of government would be cut, that some of the regulatory excesses of the prior decade would be rolled back. Agencies were expected to be abolished. However, the growth of the federal budget has continued and no agencies have been phased out. Powerful special interests rendered much of the bureaucracy's regulation impervious to reform. In this book, professional economists and lawyers who were at or near the top of the decision-making process in various federal agencies during the Reagan administration discuss the regulatory reform efforts of those eight years. They describe attempts to change the bureaucracy in different agencies, discuss what they learned about the incentives in the processes that operate in Washington, provide a review of modern theories of regulation, and offer examples of policies that failed and succeeded.
The candid comments and personal insights that reflect the authors' direct involvement in the regulatory reform effort shed new light on the functioning of the US government in general and its susceptibility to bureaucratic interests in particular.
Both research fellows at The Independent Institute, Roger E. Meiners is professor of economics at the University of Texas at Arlington and Bruce Yandle is alumni professor of economics at Clemson University.