Document Type

Chapter of Book

Publication Date



policy instruments, regulatory policy, public attitudes, empirical research


This chapter reviews the literature on the selection of regulatory policy instruments, from both normative and positive perspectives. It first reviews the mechanism design literature to identify normative objectives in selecting among the menu or toolbox of policy instruments. The chapter then discusses the public choice and positive political theory literatures and the variety of models developed to attempt to predict the actual selection of alternative policy instruments. It begins with simpler early models focusing on interest group politics and proceeds to more complicated models that incorporate both supply and demand for policy, the role of policy entrepreneurs, behavioral and cognitive choice, and public perceptions and mass politics. It compares these theories to empirical experience. The chapter examines literature in law, economics, political science, and related fields, and it draws examples from US, European, and international regulation. It concludes with suggestions for future research. Document is the author's manuscript

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Public opinion, Planning, Industrial policy