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Braking the Special Interests: Trucking Deregulation and the Politics of Policy Reform
by Dorothy Robyn
University of Chicago Press, 1987
Cloth: 978-0-226-72328-0
Library of Congress Classification HE5623.R63 1987
Dewey Decimal Classification 388.3240973

In 1980 Congress voted to eliminate the federal system of protective regulation over the powerful trucking industry, despite fierce opposition. This upset marked a rare example in American politics of diffuse public interests winning out over powerful economic lobbies. In Braking the Special Interests Dorothy Robyn draws upon firsthand observations of formal proceedings and behind-the-scenes maneuverings to illuminate the role of political strategy in the landmark trucking battle.

Robyn focuses her analysis on four elements of strategy responsible for the deregulator's victory—elements that are essential, she argues, to any successful policy battle against entrenched special interests: the effective use of economic data and analysis to make a strong case for the merits of reform; the formation and management of a diverse lobbying coalition of firms and interest groups; presidential bargaining to gain political leverage; and transition schemes to reduce uncertainty and cushion the blow to losers.

Drawing on political and economic theory, Braking the Special Interests is an immensely rich and readable study of political strategy and skill, with general insights relevant to current political battles surrounding trade, agriculture, and tax policies. Robyn's interdisciplinary work will be of great value to scholars and practitioners of politics, economics, and public policy.
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