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This chapter reviews a range of topics connected to the justification of government regulation, including: the definition of “regulation”; welfarism, Kaldor-Hicks efficiency, and the Pareto principles; the fundamental theorems of welfare economics and the “market failure” framework for justifying regulation, which identifies different ways in which the conditions for those theorems may fail to hold true (such as externalities, public goods, monopoly power, and imperfect information); the Coase theorem; and the different forms of regulation.

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Forthcoming in Dennis Paterson, ed., A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory (Cambridge U. Press).