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The Price of Regulation


Journal Article

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Suggested Citation:
Sperling, Daniel, Ethan C. Abeles, David S. Bunch, Andrew Burke, Belinda S. Chen, Kenneth S. Kurani, Thomas S. Turrentine (2004) The Price of Regulation. Access Magazine (25), 9 - 18

The era of social regulation began in the late 1960s. At first the focus was on safety and pollution, and later on energy use. Motor vehicles were the first and most prominent target. Now, forty years later, social regulation is firmly entrenched. Regulators propose increasingly stringent technology-forcing rules on vehicles, expecting automakers to find a way to adhere to them. Automakers invariably resist, asserting economic hardship. Parts suppliers, trade groups, labor unions, consumers, environmentalists, and others intervene on one side or the other in a dance that proceeds through legislatures, courts, and the public arena. What have been the effects of these social regulations? Have individual companies or entire industries suffered economic hardship? Have consumers been disadvantaged?