Economic and Ideological Corruptions of the Regulatory State

What accounts for the excesses of the regulatory state? Economists have shown that bad regulations are often due to “rent seeking” and “regulatory capture” and have provided compelling accounts of the incentives that drive these processes. However, there remain many unwarranted regulations, such as recent gun control measures, that cannot be explained by an economic rationale. Rather, it is essential to understand the distinctively ideological origins and functions of such regulations. This paper examines both the economic and ideological corruptions on the regulatory state, suggesting that those concerned with the growth of state power will have to address both of these phenomena.