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Regulation and Distribution

By Richard L. Revesz
December 17, 2018

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Filed under Climate Change and Energy Policy, Academic Articles/Working Papers, Jobs and Regulation

This article, published in the New York University Law Review, tackles a question that has vexed the administrative state for the last half century: how to seriously take account of the distributional consequences of regulation. Academic literature has largely accepted the view that distributional concerns should be moved out of the regulatory domain and into Congress’s tax policy portfolio. In doing so, it has overlooked the fact that tax policy is ill suited to provide compensation for significant environmental, health, and safety harms. And the congressional gridlock that has bedeviled us for several decades makes this enterprise even more of a nonstarter. The time has come to make distributional consequences a core concern of the regulatory state – otherwise, future socially beneficial regulations could well encounter significant roadblocks. This article provides the blueprint for the establishment of a standing, broadly constituted interagency body charged with addressing serious negative consequences of regulatory measures on particular groups.