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Episode 2: Theories of Regulation


Ryan Bourne
Ryan Bourne

R. Evan Scharf Chair for the Public Understanding of Economics, Cato Institute

In 2021, U.S. federal agencies finalized over 3,000 new regulations, prompting an exploration into the reasons behind the rules, mandates, and directives coming from Washington. As part of our Fundamentals of Economics video series, economist Ryan Bourne explores three theories posed by economists for this regulation and how they each stem from very different worldviews about the effectiveness of government. Designed for high school students, this video may be utilized to spark conversation in conjunction with an AP economics class or as part of our lesson, Regulations: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Discussion question suggestions:

  1. Identify and define the three theories of regulation. Explain how they differ in their perspectives on government effectiveness.
  2. How do contemporary debates, such as the regulation of Big Tech, reflect the complex interplay of interests described in the video?

Related Lesson: Regulations: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly