Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wilson, James (Professor of political science)||Dionisopoulos, P. Allan

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Kennedy; John F. (John Fitzgerald); 1917-1963


The federal independent regulatory commissions occupy a position of considerable importance in the American governmental structure. These commissions exercise significant regulatory authority over various aspects of the national economy. However, these commissions are not directly exposed to the democratic process; they are, in fact, insulated from the rigors of popular politics. The members of the independent commissions are appointed for fixed terms. And, the members of the commissions may not be removed simply for reasons of policy disagreement. The statutes which the commissions administer are often subject to a variety of interpretations. Thus, the independent commissions are able to formulate policy within broad limits of discretion. The independent commissions constitute, in effect, a fourth branch of government. Numerous critics have assailed the current system of economic regulation by independent commission. They contend that the independent commissions have lost sight of their public objectives. The commissions, say the critics, do not formulate policy within the context of the public interest. Rather, the independent commissions are merely spokesmen for the interests they ostensibly regulate. According to the critics, the ineffectiveness of the commissions is a direct result of the insulation of the commissions from popular political forces. Because of this insulation, the commissions are not exposed to a broad range of interests. Consequently, commission policy is formulated within an atmosphere of restricted political stimuli.


Includes bibliographical references.


v, 96 pages




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