Document Type


Publication Date



Pervasive government regulation, together with its general unpopularity, poses important questions for our polity: Can sense be made out of the seeming chaos of government programs? What are the costs and benefits of government regulation? Is the regulatory state effective in mitigating the economic and social problems that it addresses? Although administrative law scholars recognize these issues, most respond with process reforms, such as greater executive oversight or new methods of statutory interpretation, rather than by articulating substantive answers concerning what should be the substantive goals and norms of the regulatory state. Moreover, law school curricula usually ignore these systemic issues despite their social significance.

An incipient legal literature does exist that addresses the substantive attributes, norms, and goals of regulatory government. This literature, here called "government regulation scholarship," contains important insights, but it does not yet yield paradigmatic principles. This article begins to organize this literature and brings its disparate components into a more coherent relationship. Our analysis, which proceeds in five parts, describes the current state of the literature, the conclusions that can be drawn from it, and the more numerous issues that require further consideration by scholars and their students.