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Twenty years ago, James Q. Wilson and Patricia Rachal argued that government cannot regulate itself. In an era of revived federalism, increased reliance on contractors, and proliferation of quasi-public organizations, the importance of government self-regulation is greater than ever. This paper tests an underlying assumption of Wilson and Rachal's claim: that regulation of public and private organizations can be differentiated. Employing a meta-research design, this pilot study uses existing regulatory case studies to create "regulatory relationship profiles" for public and private organizations. These profiles include information on the structure of the regulator, the intent of the regulation, the enforcement tools available, the culture of the regulatory relationship, and the involvement of the Judiciary in the regulatory process. Although preliminary findings do not reveal dramatic differences in the regulatory relationship profiles of public and private organizations, the results do suggest that public organizations have a distinguishing culture and level of judicial involvement.

Published Citation

Koppell, Jonathan GS. "Differentiating regulation of public and private institutions: a preliminary inquiry." (1998).