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Regulatory Justice

Regulatory Justice: Implementing a Wage-Price Freeze

Copyright Date: 1978
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 212
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  • Book Info
    Regulatory Justice
    Book Description:

    Regulatory Justice is based on a case study of two closely linked federal agencies-the Cost of Living Council (CLC) and the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP)-which administered a nationwide wage-price freeze in 1971.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-831-4
    Subjects: Law, Economics, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
    Robert A. Kagan
  4. Part I— Sources of Regulatory Policy and Legal Structure

    • CHAPTER 1 The Dilemmas of Regulation
      (pp. 5-18)

      In August 1971, pursuant to the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970, President Nixon issued an executive order imposing a ninety-day freeze on all wages, prices, and rents in the United States. Its stated objective was to stop inflation, prevent the continued erosion of real wages, and promote economic recovery. While these goals would appear to command universal support, the corridors of the administrative agencies assigned to implement the freeze were soon filled with corporation officers and labor union lawyers seeking exceptions—permission for a wage or price increase in their particular case. Strict interpretation or adherence to the order, these...

    • CHAPTER 2 The Freeze Agencies and Their Legal Structure
      (pp. 19-40)

      When President Nixon announced a wage-price freeze in August 1971, no administrative structure existed to communicate its requirements to the public, to detect and sanction violations, or to elaborate its application in particular cases. A new legal structure and set of legal procedures had to be created. Inevitably, they would shape the way in which freeze policy would be formed and implemented and the kinds of pressures for stringency and legalism that would be brought to bear on freeze agency officials.

      Most governments in this century have faced—and some have been toppled by—the political and economic tensions engendered...

    • CHAPTER 3 Freeze Policy
      (pp. 41-64)

      Most of the thousands of inquiries addressed to the freeze agencies were requests for permission to increase a price or rent or salary. Most inquirers argued passionately that to construe the freeze order so as to deny the increase would be profoundly unjust or detrimental to the economic health of the nation. The agencies were thus compelled repeatedly to decide whether to maintain an unremittingly stringent anti-inflationary policy or to make accommodations to competing values. The nature of their response—at the level of Cost of Living Council rules—is the subject of this chapter.

      A realistic assessment of where...

    • CHAPTER 4 Sources of Stringency
      (pp. 65-82)

      What impels a regulatory agency to adhere to a stringent policy in the face of demands for accommodation to other values? The freeze agencies steadfastly resisted many of the same arguments that produced more accommodative policies in subsequent phases of the Economic Stabilization Program. One might think, “Well, naturally the freeze was stringent. That’s what a short-term freeze is!” Whatisthere about a freeze, however, as a type of regulatory activity, that makes one expect its administrators to adhere to a stringent position? CLC officials, in their own minds, faced very real choices between a hard or a soft...

  5. Part II— Rule Application in a Bureaucracy

    • CHAPTER 5 Rules and the Problem of Legality
      (pp. 85-98)

      The larger a regulatory agency’s case load grows, the more it must delegate and disperse decision-making authority and the more elusive the ideal of legality seems to become. As more decisions are made by inspectors in remote field sites or bureaucrats on the lower floors of large office buildings, there is a greater risk that the basic policies formulated by agency leaders will be eroded by selective and accommodative settlements or applied in an overly rigid and harsh manner. The problem of legality is to establish procedures and attitudes that will prevent inconsistent and arbitrary decisions, but that will also...

    • CHAPTER 6 The Judicial Mode of Rule Application in OEP
      (pp. 99-110)

      The national office of OEP was the headquarters of the freeze agencies’ inquiry-response system. By their decisions in over 10,000 inquiries and by the example they set for the field offices, OEP National officials determined whether CLC’s policy of stringency would be enforced strictly or applied in a more accommodative manner, whether the regime of rules would be a mechanism of sensible and fair policy implementation or an instrument of arbitrary control. This chapter describes and analyzes thepreferredmethod of rule application in OEP National.

      The General Counsel’s Office (GC) in OEP National served as the “court of appeals”...

    • CHAPTER 7 Supports for the Judicial Mode
      (pp. 111-126)

      What impelled OEP decision makers involved in the School Bus Contractors’ Case, or indeed in any case, to adhere to the norms of the judicial mode of rule application? A simple answer would be that they had internalized those norms in the course of their general or legal education or during their socialization as bureaucrats, And surely it is true that most of us—government official, lawyer, and layman alike—think that government decisions should have legal justification and believe that rules should be interpreted to produce reasonable and consistent results; but everyday experience also teaches that adherence to these...

    • CHAPTER 8 Inducements to Deviant Modes of Rule Application
      (pp. 127-144)

      Even when an administrative agency, such as OEP, works hard to achieve the ideals of the judicial mode of rule application, it rarely can maintain that standard uniformly. Deliberation and attention to principle are not the only values at stake in an active, goal-oriented agency. Competing norms and operational imperatives tend to produce deviations from the judicial mode. Two specific inducements to deviant forms of decision making in the OEP national office were of particular importance—time pressure and bureaucratic organization.¹

      Confronted by an army of inquirers insisting that uncertainty about the requirements of the freeze be resolved immediately, agency...

    • CHAPTER 9 Case Presentation and Substantive Dispositions
      (pp. 145-162)

      Methods of legal decision making are important, in the last analysis, because they affect substantive outcomes for individual parties and the aggregate impact of legal policy. How did the clash of competing styles of rule application in the OEP national office affect the incidence of stringency and accommodation in the decision of individual cases? What determined whether a particular inquiry would be answered in the judicial mode or legalistically, stringently or accommodatively?

      The judical mode of rule application has no inherent tendency to produce any particular pattern of substantive outcomes, liberal or conservative, stringent or accommodative. It is responsive primarily...

  6. Conclusion

    • CHAPTER 10 Justifying Stringency
      (pp. 165-182)

      For governmental officials attempting to implement new policies, the law is both a resource and an impediment. When policies are implemented through the forms and procedures of the law, there is an implicit claim that those who disobey act in defiance of the rule of law itself and are legitimately subject to punishment. However, when they invoke the support of the law, governmental officials are also subject to the constraints of the legal tradition within which they operate—the obligations which that tradition imposes on official action, its standards of legal validity and fairness and rationality.

      In the United States,...

  7. Appendix: Notes on Research Methods
    (pp. 183-190)
  8. Index
    (pp. 191-194)
  9. General Subject Index
    (pp. 195-200)