Political inequality and financial rulemaking: A collaborative empirical project for the production of data

Project Summary:

This project will undertake a quantitative, rigorous assessment of financial regulation in the United States, an underdeveloped area of research within the social sciences. While there is an extensive literature on regulatory politics, the focus on financial regulation has eluded many political scientists (and most economists as well). Moreover, research on the effects of unequal influence has largely focused on representation and legislation, with minimal attention paid to the final, critical step of rulemaking in the “sausage factory” of policymaking. This project will create a new database on financial rulemaking covering the past three decades, with a particular focus on the pre- and post-Dodd Frank Act. The dataset will be publically available and include rules changes, comments, and linkages of these variables to financial enforcement and appointments data. The possibilities for influencing the rules through lobbying of various sorts are enormous and may significantly contribute to economic inefficiencies, rent seeking, and inequality, which in turn have implications for growth.


Daniel Carpenter, who directs the social sciences program at the Radcliffe Institute, is the Allie S. Freed Professor of Government in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. He combines theoretical, historical, statistical, and mathematical analyses to examine the development of political institutions, particularly in the United States, focusing on public bureaucracies and government regulation—particularly the regulation of health and financial products. Carpenter recently launched a long-term project examining petitioning in North American political development, comparing it to petitioning histories in Europe and India.

Carpenter has held fellowships from the Brookings Institution, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute, and the Santa Fe Institute. His book, The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy: Reputations, Networks, and Policy Innovation in Executive Agencies, 1862–1928 (Princeton University Press, 2001) won the American Political Science Association’s Gladys M. Kammerer Award and the Charles H. Levine Memorial Book Prize of the International Political Science Association; and Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA (Princeton University Press, 2010), the Allan Sharlin Memorial Award from the Social Science History Association. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.