Administrative Law, Filter Failure, and Information Capture




Wagner, Wendy E.

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This article discusses how parties can capture the regulatory process using information that allows them to control or at least dominate regulatory outcomes (the information capture phenomenon). It then traces the problem back to a series of failures by Congress and the courts to require some filtering of the information flowing through the system. Rather than filtering information, the incentives tilt in the opposite direction and encourage participants to err on the side of providing too much rather than too little information. Evidence is then offered to show how this uncontrolled and excessive information is taking a toll on the basic objectives of administrative governance. The article closes with a series of unconventional but relatively straightforward reforms that offer some hope of bringing information capture under control.

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