The principal aim of our study is to contribute to the debate over whether regulation is enacted in the interest of consumers, producers, political agents, or some combination of these. We examine the legislative debates and subsequent regulatory bills surrounding road transportation regulation in Ireland in light of the three dominant theories which purport to explain the existence of regulation: the public interest theory and the so-called Chicago and Virginia theories. A unique feature of our study is an attempt to integrate specific rhetorical concepts used in the public policy debates into the theoretical analysis of regulation. One noteworthy conclusion of our study is that theories of economic processes affect the shaping and results of public policy.
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