Responsive bureaus, equity, and regulatory negotiation: an empirical view



Rulemaking agencies commonly delegate the implementation and enforcement of rules to affected parties, but they rarely delegate rulemaking authority. Regulatory negotiation is an example of this uncommon behavior. Compared to conventional rulemaking, regulatory negotiation is thought to be an attempt to make bureaucracy more responsive to affected stakeholders, especially when the rulemaking concerns politically complicated and technical issues. However, negotiation, while it may make bureaucrats more responsive, may also be less fair in that it is likely to result in relatively more responsiveness to interests supported by those with greater resources. This study presents empirical evidence that compares negotiated to conventional rulemaking processes at the Environmental Protection Agency in respect to both responsiveness and equality. The results uphold the expectation that negotiating rules appears more responsive than the conventional rule-writing process. Furthermore, the results show inequality in both processes; outcomes of negotiated rules may be more unequal than outcomes of conventionally written rules. © 2002 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.