Terminating the oldest living regulator: The death of the interstate commerce commission

Samuel Best, Paul Teske, Michael Mintrom

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10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the termination of the oldest federal regulatory agency, in light of existing policy termination theories. The need for the ICC was severely reduced by major deregulation of railroads and trucking in 1980, changes from which also reduced the ICC's ability to maintain external interest group support. Still, although its budget and staff were cut, the ICC survived intact for 15 more years, until budgetary politics found it to be a useful symbolic target for termination. We also argue that this case shows the utility of putting termination theory into the larger framework of policy change, a literature that itself has largely ignored the critical element of policy and organizational termination. ”Once you establish a commission … you have the devil's own time passing an act abolishing it.” (1) .

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2067-2096
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Public Administration
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

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