12 Admin. L. News 1 (1987)

handle is hein.journals/admreln12 and id is 1 raw text is: ADMINISTRATIVE


Winter 1987

Published by the SactOn-otAdministrative Law, American Bar Association, Volume 12, Number 1

Theories of
Administrative Regulation
by Ronald A. Cas*
Over the past two decades, increasing concern over
the effects of government regulation has prompted
renewed interest in explaining how regulatory
schemes function and why they are adopted. General
descriptions of regulatory programs' creation and op-
eration have come to be known as theories of admin-
istrative regulation. Use of the term theory here
takes some liberty with its ordinary meaning, as there
is no serious prospect that current descriptions of ad-
ministrative regulation can predict meaningfully what
measures will be passed by the legislature or how
those measures will be implemented by administra-
tors. The theories lack of strong predictive power is
not unexpected, given the range of government activ-
ity and the complexity of its causes and cures. Like
weather forecasters, regulation theorists can describe
some aspects of an event that has occurred and can
extract some lessons that are useful at the broadest
level for understanding future events; but the number
of forces that together determine government behav-
ior, like those that dictate the weather, provide too
many possible permutations and combinations to al-
low accuracy in more detailed augury. The theories
described here, thus, contain useful insights, but none
can carry us nearly so far as we would like to go.
The major theories of administrative regulation can
be classified under four headings: public interest ra-
tionales, two different types of public choice theories,
and explanations focused mainly on individual per-
sonalities and interests. The sketches of the theories
below endeavor to do equal injustice to each.
Public Interest Rationales
Public interest theories are the oldest and in many
ways the most attractive. They start not with obser-
vation of how legislators and administrators behave
(continued on page 6)
*Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law.

Sunstein Receives First Award for
Administrative Law Scholarship
At the October meeting of the Section's Council,
Professor Cass R. Sunstein was presented with the
first annual award of the Section for administrative
law scholarship. Professor Sunstein was honored for
his article, Interest Groups in American Public Law,
published in 1985 in the Stanford Law Review.
The choice of Professor Sunstein's article had been
announced by Professor Thomas D. Morgan at the
August Council meeting. At that time, Professor Mor-
gan, on behalf of the Administrative Law Scholarship
Award Committee, explained the procedure followed
by the committee. Besides Professor Morgan of Emory
University, the other members of the committee are
William H. Allen (chairman) of Covington & Burling
and Neil R. Eisner, Assistant General Counsel for
Regulation and Enforcement, Department of Trans-
First, the committee considered general criteria, de-
ciding to seek the best article or book that explored
an important question of broad interest in adminis-
trative law and analyzed that question in a new and
creative way. The committee also determined that to
be eligible, an article would have to be published in
a law review that either bears the year of the award
or was actually received in law libraries during that
year. A book would be eligible in the year of its copy-
Next, the committee tried to define the field of po-
tential candidates for the award. Members checked
the Index to Legal Periodicals and the University of
Washington Law Library periodicals list, and com-
piled a list of approximately twenty-five articles that
appeared both to meet the general criteria and to have
a chance of being among the best in the field. Council
members and a few others who keep up with the
(continued on page 8)
In This Issue
Current Issues in Disability Claims ............... 3
Committee  Reports ...............................  9
Recent Articles of Interest ........................  10

Copyright © 1987 American Bar Association

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