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Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence

Timothy Besley and Stephen Coate
Journal of the European Economic Association
Vol. 1, No. 5 (Sep., 2003), pp. 1176-1206
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40004855
Page Count: 31
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Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence
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Abstract

This paper contrasts direct election with political appointment of regulators. When regulators are appointed, regulatory policy becomes bundled with other policy issues the appointing politicians are responsible for. Because voters have only one vote to cast and regulatory issues are not salient for most voters, there are electoral incentives to respond to stakeholder interests. If regulators are elected, their stance on regulation is the only salient issue so that the electoral incentive is to run a pro-consumer candidate. Using panel data on regulatory outcomes from U.S. states, we find new evidence in favor of the idea that elected states are more pro-consumer in their regulatory policies.

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