Regulation, Organizations, and Politics

Motor Freight Policy at the Interstate Commerce Commission
Lawrence S. Rothenberg
A major study of federal regulation


Regulation, Organizations, and Politics examines the evolution of regulation at the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). The ICC has probably had the most profound impact on any federal agency on the way social scientists view politics. From a perspective based in modern political economy, the author develops an analysis that improves our understanding of the determinants of bureaucratic performance and clarifies the conditions under which organizations are likely to have a substantial influence.
Employing a variety of techniques, Regulation, Organizations, and Politics explains how motor carriers, particularly the larger truckers who controlled the American Trucking Association, were unable to control public policy once the chief executive decided to expand substantial political resources on reforming the motor carrier system. The author shows that this failure was rooted in the carriers’ inability to offer the requisite rewards and sanctions required to influence those with power over the outcome. This work thus demonstrates that an integrated approach to the intersections of rational, if often incompletely informed, actors can help us to understand phenomena that seem puzzling at first consideration.

Praise / Awards

  • "Clearly one of the best books on regulation in a decade. This study successfully bridges the gap between the 'economic theories of regulation' emphasizing the role of interest groups and the new institutionalists studying the effect of political institutions on regulation. Rothenberg's analysis of the Motor Carriers Act of 1935 will become a classic in the economics and politics of regulation."
    —Barry R. Weingast, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
  • ". . . a well-crafted study of the regulation of motor freight policy by the Interstate Commerce Commission. . . . Rothenberg's style and approach to the study make the book not only interesting but actually enjoyable. . . . This approach provides encouragement to those of us who believe that the study of public administration and public policy cannot be separated if we are to understand adequately governance in our society. Yet far too few studies demonstrate the intersection of organizations and policy with the flair and effectiveness of Rothenberg's book. . . . [This] book is one that can be highly recommend to scholars with an interest in regulation, interest groups, and governing institutions. It will have broad appeal for those with an interest in public administration and public policy. It is worth purchasing simply for the chapter that synthesizes the existing literature on the political economy of regulation. The carefully researched chapters clearly make this book a winner, one that will be widely read and cited by those who study regulatory policy and government administration."
    Journal of Politics

Look Inside


Acronyms - xi

Part 1. Theory
Introduction: Explaining Regulation - 3
Chapter 1. The Political Economy of Regulation - 9

Part 2: History
Chapter 2. Establishing a Baseline: The Origins of Trucking Regulation - 39

Part 3. Policy Implementation: The Macrolevel
Chapter 3. The Big Picture: The Evolution of ICC Motor Freight Policy - 61

Part 4. Policy Implementation: The Microlevel
Introduction: Microlevel Implementation -- Variance across Policy Domains - 117
Chapter 4. Motor Carrier Entry: Beyond Capture - 121
Chapter 5. The Politics of Business and Labor: Merger Policy - 163
Chapter 6. Motor Freight Pricing: Regulators as Arbitrators - 191

Part 5. Deregulation
Chapter 7. The Limits of Interest Group Influence: Deregulation of the Trucking Industry - 211

Part 6. Conclusions
Chapter 8. Regulation, Organization, and Politics - 247

Glossary - 261

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 328pp.
  • figures, tables.
Available for sale worldwide