Regulatory policymaking in the American States: A review of theories and evidence

Brian J. Gerber, Paul Teske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


While most studies of the determinants of regulatory policymaking have concentrated on national-level issues, state-level regulatory politics represent a productive opportunity to examine the efficacy of competing theories of the regulatory process over variable political, economic, and demographic conditions. In this article we discuss the significance of state-level regulation to broader theoretical understandings of policymaking. We review a broad set of recent empirical work in the context of three models of policymaking: principal-agent theory, Gormley's salience and complexity model, and Lowry's dimensions of federalism model. The relative effectiveness of the three approaches in explaining the dynamics of political controls or influences over state-level regulation is assessed in order to point to future theoretic directions for the field. We conclude by suggesting the need for a greater integration of incentive-based and issues-based explanations of regulatory policy choices in the states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-886
Number of pages38
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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