Over the course of a long and distinguished career, Sam Peltzman has established a reputation for developing provocative, original research that frequently flies in the face of conventional wisdom; Regulation and the Natural Progress of Opulence is no exception. Peltzman’s thesis is that market forces frequently undermine attempts at regulation, but nevertheless, counterproductive regulation can survive for a long time. This puzzle defies simple explanation, but Peltzman explores some possibilities in this monograph. In concluding, he suggests that good empirical research on regulation can help guide policy reforms when the issues become politically salient.
Sam Peltzman is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, where he is the director of the George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State. He also serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals and on the Council of Academic Advisers of the American Enterprise Institute. Professor Peltzman’s research has focused on issues related to the interface between the public sector and the private economy. He has made numerous contributions to the study of regulation and is the author or editor of several books, including Political Participation and Government Regulation and The Deregulation of Network Industries: What’s Next.