Who Wins, Who Loses?

Inequality and the Distribution of Regulatory Impacts

Cary Coglianese
Release Date: August 2, 2022

Examining whether and how regulation affects economic inequality

The recent debate over growing inequality in the United States has focused on several causes but has pretty much ignored one potential factor: government regulation. This book is the first serious examination of whether federal regulation, defined broadly, has exacerbated or counteracted economic disparities that pose major long-term political and social consequences.

Contributors provide extensive empirical evidence showing how key areas of federal regulation during the past forty years have had varying social and economic impacts across the different strata of American society. The fields of regulation examined in the book include those addressing pharmaceutical products, energy systems, financial institutions, employment, transportation, manufacturing operations, antitrust, and workplace safety.

The book synthesizes economic data and research to identify the major impacts of regulation in these fields and assess who enjoys most of the benefits and who incurs most of the costs from each. Overall, the aim is to gauge whether and when regulation, on balance, is either a progressive or a regressive force in the United States.

Contributors are leading scholars in law, economics, policy analysis, and the social sciences who bring extensive research backgrounds to their study of the major regulatory fields addressed in each chapter. The book provides policymakers, scholars, and analysts an empirical basis for understanding how regulations affect different sectors of society differently—and the potential impact on inequality of those regulatory differences.


Cary Coglianese is the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he specializes in regulatory law and policy. His previous books include Achieving Regulatory Excellence.