*The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators*

by on February 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm in Books, Economics, Law | Permalink

That is the new book by Andrei Shleifer, and it collects his major and very important writings on regulation and law and economics, many with notable co-authors.  Some of these papers have been discussed previously on MarginalRevolution.  If you wish to own those papers, this is your book.

1 Doc Merlin February 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm

This may be a short run versus long run issue.
In the short run regulators may be better, but in the long run, it becomes easier and easier to use regulation for cronyism than the courts.

2 Dan in Euroland February 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm


3 david February 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Depends on the relative strengths of your civil-service and judicial traditions, surely? Singapore is the obvious counterpoint, with a highly effective and minimally corrupt regulatory state combined with a judiciary that is, shall we say, possibly not entirely politically neutral in its choice of legal standards and certainly under a tremendous pressure to defer to the regime.

4 Peter H February 22, 2012 at 1:22 am

Yeah, the independence of the judiciary relative to the regulatory state is in many ways an artifact of british common law traditions and noblemen seeking protection from the crown via judges as opposed to the court of the king. That said, the jury is an important structural bulwark against overreaching officials, if an under-appreciated one.

5 Doc Merlin February 24, 2012 at 8:21 am


6 Doc Merlin February 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

Also in the UK, the judiciary at its highest level were the lords and such that wanted the protection. In the US federal system, its government appointees all the way down.

7 Michael G Heller February 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Shleifer is one of my favourite scholars, and this should be fascinating book. I look forward to reading it.

Shleifer is of course absolutely right to put the stress on *enforcement*. I believe it was on a page of Marginal Revolution in November that I said, darn it all, what we need now is a coming Age of Enforcement.

Begad! I found it:

If the intellectuals could bring themselves around (painfully because they will wring their hands so hard) to accepting the need for *enforcement* of a small number of important constitutional parametric laws I’m sure most of the problems of the world would lessen rapidly. In the USA you could almost altogether bypass partisan deadlock by tweaking that constitution and enforcing those tweaks.

Check out this week’s The Economist on the USA regulatory enforcement problem (the magazine this week appears finally to have returned to its senses, thank goodness). E.g. the so-called Schumpeter column.

Tyler, you seem to have missed today’s best insight into the Greek predicament (and solution). It’s either this, or it’s that. You can’t have both, says Rogoff who knows his history:


8 Inframarginal February 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Despite failing overall, it’s only fair to note that Judges have had some success in their dealings with Shleifer himself.

9 Fred February 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I was trying to think up some joke along those lines. I’m not sure this is the best that can be done, but it’s pretty good.

10 Steve Sailer February 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Good one!

11 TheCrankyProfessor February 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Eh – judges dealt much more harshly with Harvard. Deeper pockets. But I guess Professor Shleifer was just demonstrating Service Learning and Community Engagement.

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