Pluralism by the Rules

cover art
328 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878406715 ()

328 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878406722 (0878406727)

January 1998
LC: 97-37976
Sales Rights: World

American Governance and Public Policy series



Pluralism by the Rules
Conflict and Cooperation in Environmental Regulation
Edward P. Weber
Despite America's pluralistic, fragmented, and generally adversarial political culture, participants in pollution control politics have begun to collaborate to reduce the high costs of developing, implementing, and enforcing regulations. Edward P. Weber uses examples from this traditionally combative policy arena to propose a new model for regulation, "pluralism by the rules," a structured collaborative format that can achieve more effective results at lower costs than typically come from antagonistic approaches.

Weber cites the complexity and high implementation costs of environmental policy as strong but insufficient incentives for collaboration. He shows that cooperation becomes possible when opposing sides agree to follow specific rules that include formal binding agreements about enforcement, commitment to the process by political and bureaucratic leaders, and the ensured access and accountability of all parties involved. Such rules establish trust, create assurances that agreements will be enforced, and reduce the perceived risks of collaboration. Through case studies dealing with acid rain, reformulated gasoline, and oil refinery pollution control, Weber demonstrates the potential of collaboration for realizing a cleaner environment, lower compliance costs, and more effective enforcement.

Challenging the prevailing view that endless conflict in policymaking is inevitable, Pluralism by the Rules establishes a theoretical framework for restructuring the regulatory process.
Edward P. Weber is an associate professor of political science at Washington State University, and is Director of the Thomas S. Foley Public Policy Institute.
Gerard W. Boychuk, Karen Mossberger, and Mark C. Rom, Series Editors
"A pioneering study. . . . Weber contributes significantly to our knowledge about practical pluralism in the American context. . . . This book demands attention from all scholars interested in environmental policy, bureaucratic politics, and American pluralism; policy activists and administrative entrepreneurs could benefit from its critical insights as well."—Robert V. Bartlett, Purdue University

"In this engaging, enlightening, and ultimately encouraging analysis, Weber shows that we can and do use collaborative approaches to address even the most challenging of public policy conflicts."—William Lowry, Washington University at St. Louis