The Rich Get Richer and the Public Gets Punished: How Unenforced Regulations Perpetuate Inequality
Journal of Regulatory Compliance, 2019
18 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2019 Last revised: 5 Dec 2019
Date Written: April 15, 2019
The disparate enforcement of social welfare regulations perpetuate inequality as those with the least receive the least discretion while those with the most are permitted to act with near impunity. The economically disadvantaged face hyperregulatory regimes with strict enforcement while powerful individuals and business are permitted to ignore the law with few meaningful consequences.
The article defines the factors that regulators should consider to avoid institutionalizing racism, sexism, and classism through the administrative state using a purposivist approach. It then compares the actual practice of regulators using privately-owned public spaces, rent stabilization, and public housing. These three case studies of the (un)enforcement of regulations of New York City real estate demonstrate how a party’s power differential directly affect the outcome of regulations through internal biases and external pressures.
The article concludes that regulators need to reorient enforcement to serve as a countervailing force to powerful private actors to promote the public good over private interests.
Keywords: poverty law, housing, real estate, administrative law, regulations, administrative state, critical legal studies, poverty, public space, rent control, rent stabilization, rent regulation, public housing, Intersectionality, incentives, regulatory capture, inequality, privately owned public space
JEL Classification: K11, K23, K2, K42, K4, K40, K20, A14, D63, I3, I38, L51, R38, R52, Z18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation