Braking the Special Interests

Trucking Deregulation and the Politics of Policy Reform

Dorothy Robyn

Braking the Special Interests
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Dorothy Robyn

303 pages | © 1987
Cloth $52.50 ISBN: 9780226723280 Published January 1987
In 1980 Congress voted to eliminate the federal system of protective regulation over the powerful trucking industry, despite fierce opposition. This upset marked a rare example in American politics of diffuse public interests winning out over powerful economic lobbies. In Braking the Special Interests Dorothy Robyn draws upon firsthand observations of formal proceedings and behind-the-scenes maneuverings to illuminate the role of political strategy in the landmark trucking battle.

Robyn focuses her analysis on four elements of strategy responsible for the deregulator's victory—elements that are essential, she argues, to any successful policy battle against entrenched special interests: the effective use of economic data and analysis to make a strong case for the merits of reform; the formation and management of a diverse lobbying coalition of firms and interest groups; presidential bargaining to gain political leverage; and transition schemes to reduce uncertainty and cushion the blow to losers.

Drawing on political and economic theory, Braking the Special Interests is an immensely rich and readable study of political strategy and skill, with general insights relevant to current political battles surrounding trade, agriculture, and tax policies. Robyn's interdisciplinary work will be of great value to scholars and practitioners of politics, economics, and public policy.
1. Congress and the Special Interests
2. The Trucking Industry and Its Regulation
3. The Political Battle for Trucking Deregulation
4. Demonstrating the Merits: Strategic Use of Analysis
5. The Ad Hoc Coalition: Strange Bedfellows Make Good Politics
6. Picking Up Where Brute Sanity Leaves Off: Transition Strategies for Reducing Opposition to Change
7. Political Leverage: The President as Strategic Bargainer
8. The Elements of Political Strategy
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