© 2020

Who Governs?

Legislatures, Bureaucracies, or Markets?


Part of the Palgrave Studies in American Economic History book series (AEH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. John H. Wood
    Pages 1-14
  3. John H. Wood
    Pages 15-61
  4. John H. Wood
    Pages 63-103
  5. John H. Wood
    Pages 105-144
  6. John H. Wood
    Pages 145-191
  7. John H. Wood
    Pages 193-247
  8. John H. Wood
    Pages 249-266
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 267-274

About this book


When we start to perceive that there is a problem in the market (such as monopoly, fraud or speculation), the legislature passes a law to correct it, a bureaucracy is created to interpret and enforce the new law, firms and other market participants comply, and the problem is solved. But is it?  Are politicians’ promises and textbooks’ stories to be believed? 

This book examines US economic history to demonstrate how the applications of laws are uncertain, affected by changing political and economic conditions as well as by legislators’ perceptions and the ability or willingness of bureaucracies to enforce laws. The two cases developed in this book revolve around William McChesney Martin, Jr., who helped apply (i) the 1930s Securities Acts as president of the New York Stock Exchange and (ii) the Federal Reserve Act in the Keynesian era unforeseen by that Act. As chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, Martin served as private regulator of firms listed on the Exchange—itself a publicly regulated entity. As chairman of the Federal Reserve, he then served as a public regulator. This book thus offers an innovative approach to understanding and examining the various issues and incentives facing each of the three parties: regulated, private regulator, and public regulator.


William McChesney Martin, Jr. Federal Reserve The Securities Act of 1933 New York Stock Exchange Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 Securities and Exchange Commission SEC central banking legislation

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsWake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA

About the authors

John H. Wood is Reynolds Professor of Economics at Wake Forest University, USA.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Who Governs?
  • Book Subtitle Legislatures, Bureaucracies, or Markets?
  • Authors John H. Wood
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in American Economic History
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in American Economic History
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance Economics and Finance (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-33082-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-33085-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-33083-5
  • Series ISSN 2662-3900
  • Series E-ISSN 2662-3919
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages IX, 274
  • Number of Illustrations 8 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Economic History
    Economic Policy
    Financial History
    North American Economics
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking