What Is Government Failure?
13 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2013 Last revised: 6 Jun 2013
Date Written: May 15, 2013
The phrase “government failure” as a term of art originated in the critique of government regulation that emerged in the 1960s. This critique premised that “market failures” were the only legitimate rationale for regulation. Although the phrase is a popular currency in scholarship and politics, people attribute to it different values. As a result, all seem to expect the government to fail, many believe that government inaction cannot constitute a failure, and alleged failures tend to be disputed. This essay seeks to establish a coherent meaning for the term “government failure” and its relatives (e.g., “government breakdown,” “regulatory failure”).
Keywords: government failure, regulatory failure, regulation, market failure
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