Preventing Regulatory Capture: Special Interest Influence and How to Limit It

« Previous Book  Next Book »

 Preventing Regulatory Capture 

Edited by Daniel Carpenter (Harvard University) and David Moss (Harvard Business School), Cambridge University Press, 2013

Read James Kwak's chapter, “Cultural Capture and the Financial Crisis”

Now available for purchase

Cambridge University Press book page here


Table of Contents

The Tobin Project

Daniel Carpenter, Freed Professor of Government, Harvard University
David Moss, John G. McLean Professor, Harvard Business School


1. A Revisionist History of Regulatory Capture
William Novak, Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School 

2. The Concept of Regulatory Capture: A Short, Inglorious History
Richard Posner, Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit; Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Chicago Law School 

3. Detecting and Measuring Capture 
Daniel Carpenter, Freed Professsor of Government, Harvard University


4. Cultural Capture and the Financial Crisis
James Kwak, Associate Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law

5. Complexity, Capacity, and Capture
Nolan McCarty, Susan Dod Brown Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

6. Preventing Economists' Capture
Luigi Zingales, Robert C. McCormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and David G. Booth Faculty Fellow, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

7. Corrosive Capture? The Dueling Forces of Autonomy and Industry Influence in FDA Pharmaceutical Regulation
Daniel Carpenter, Freed Professor of Government, Harvard University


8. Capturing History: The Case of the Federal Radio Commission in 1927
David Moss, John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Jonathan B. L. Decker, Director of Policy and Communications, The Tobin Project

9. Conditional Forbearance as an Alternative to Capture: Evidence from Coal Mine Safety Regulation
Sanford Gordon, Associate Professor of Politics, New York University
Catherine Hafer, Associate Professor of Politics, New York University

10. Captured by Disaster? Reinterpreting Regulatory Behavior in the Shadow of the Gulf Oil Spill 
Christopher Carrigan, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Administration, The Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University

11. Reconsidering Agency Capture During Regulatory Policymaking 
Susan Webb Yackee, Associate Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science, La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison

12. Coalitions, Autonomy, and Regulatory Bargains in Public Health Law 
Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Professor of Law and Deane F. Johnson Faculty Scholar, Stanford Law School


13. Preventing Capture Through Consumer Empowerment Programs: Some Evidence from Insurance Regulation 
Daniel Schwarcz, Associate Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School

14. Courts and Regulatory Capture 
M. Elizabeth Magill, Dean and Richard E. Lang Professor, Stanford Law School

15. Can Executive Review Help Prevent Capture?
Richard Revesz, Dean Emeritus and Lawrence King Professor of Law, New York University Law School
Michael Livermore, Associate Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

David Moss, John G. McLean Professor, Harvard Business School
Daniel Carpenter, Freed Professor of Government, Harvard University

Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Senator (D-RI)
James Leach, Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanitities; Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (R-IA)

Praise for Preventing Regulatory Capture

“'Regulatory capture' is an often used, little understood term. It is quoted frequently by those who would like to question a regulation for any of a number of agendas without an effort to understand the science or reason behind it.  Daniel Carpenter and David Moss and the co-authors have written a long overdue analysis of the issue and what, when proven true, can be done about it.”

– Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and former head of the Environmental Protection Agency

“This is an enormously useful collection that goes beyond alleging and lamenting regulatory capture to provide diagnostic tools for evaluating purported instances of captured regulatory regimes and institutional techniques for avoiding their emergence and mitigating their effects.”

– Jerry Mashaw, Yale University

“This collection deftly sharpens our thinking about the nature of regulatory capture. It compiles the most multidimensional treatment we have of capture and the American regulatory state.”

– John Braithwaite, Australian National University


When regulations (or lack thereof) seem to detract from the common good, critics often point to regulatory capture as a culprit. In some academic and policy circles it seems to have assumed the status of an immutable law. Yet for all the ink spilled describing and decrying capture, the concept remains difficult to nail down in practice. Is capture truly as powerful and unpreventable as the informed consensus seems to suggest? This edited volume brings together seventeen scholars from across the social sciences to address this question. Their work shows that capture is often misdiagnosed, and may, in fact, be preventable and manageable. Focusing on the goal of prevention, the volume advances a more rigorous and empirical standard for diagnosing and measuring capture, paving the way for new lines of academic inquiry and more precise and nuanced reform.