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Against the Profit MotiveThe Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780-1940$
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Nicholas R. Parrillo

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300176582

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300176582.001.0001

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A Regulatory Nightmare

A Regulatory Nightmare

Salaries as a Remedy for Corrupt Exchange and Official Lucre

(p.111) 3 A Regulatory Nightmare
Against the Profit Motive

Nicholas R. Parrillo

Yale University Press

The legal and ideological changes discussed in the last chapter led to an administrative nightmare. The fee regulations that legislators wrote proved crude and incomplete, and they became obsolete quite easily and rapidly. Because the fixed payments fell so far out of phase with business needs, officers who took fees according to the regulations had incentives to misallocate crazily their efforts. But many reacted to the regulations' perversity by simply disobeying them. This chapter looks at the effects of this tightening up of bargaining on American lawmaking. The twin regulatory challenges discussed here—preventing corrupt individual exchanges and preventing too-high official incomes—proved so difficult to meet by tinkering with statutory fee schedules that lawmakers opted to jettison such schedules altogether and adopt salaries instead.

Keywords:   administration, fixed payments, fees, bargaining, fee schedules, salaries

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