Pluralism by Design: Environmental Policy and the American Regulatory State

Pluralism by Design: Environmental Policy and the American Regulatory State

Pluralism by Design: Environmental Policy and the American Regulatory State

Pluralism by Design: Environmental Policy and the American Regulatory State

Synopsis

The rise of social regulation and the advent of public interest movements during the 1960s and 1970s led to a significant change in policy outcomes as the influence of governmental actors and political activists increased at the expense of business. Recently, this policy system has come under harsh attack as a result of changing economic conditions, extensive lobbying by business, and the election of presidents openly hostile to the American regulatory state. By focusing on two specific areas, pesticide regulation and air pollution control, this study describes and explains policy changes by examining recent controversies in the context of empirical political theory.

Excerpt

This book is guided by three fundamental concerns: the substance of environmental policy, the dynamics of policy change over time, and the distribution of power over public policy in the contemporary American political system. These concerns explain the case studies chosen, the historical focus that traces policies from the New Deal to 1988, and the overriding concern with empirical policy theory. I am particularly interested in exploring the relationship between the rules of the game and the substance of public policy. During a 1984 hearing on regulatory reform, Representative John Dingell, the brusque yet powerful chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, pronounced "I'll let you write the substance on a statute and you let me write the procedures, and I'll screw you every time." While intentionally hyperbolic, this statement nonetheless provides a useful point of departure for this study.

This project was begun at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed at the University of British Columbia, with a stop at the Brookings Institution in between. At various stages in its development I have received helpful advice from Josh Cohen, Colleen Dunlavy, Vicky Hattam, Gary Herrigel, Paul Josephson, Shep Melnick, Terry Moe, Mark Rom, Charles Stewart, Rick Vallely, David Vogel, and Joseph White. I am especially indebted to Walter Dean Burnham, Daniel Metlay, and Charles Sabel, for their helpful guidance throughout the process. Special thanks go to Dan Metlay, who through a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation provided some support for my graduate education and gave me an opportunity to immerse myself in a number of controversies in health and safety regulation.

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