Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I even say who wrote them. If you have more recent summaries to add to this collection, send them my way I guess. Sorry for the ads; they cover the costs of keeping this online.
Viscusi, Vernon, and Harrington. 2000. Economics of Regulation and Antitrust. Cambridge: MIT Press, 3d edition, pages 297-336.
Discusses the three historical approaches to studying regulation of the economy:
The authors point out that neither of these two early approaches was really a theory; neither explained when regulation will occur, or how. Thus were just empirical observations (and not very good ones). See also Noll about these first two.
Main point about NPT: regulation doesn't always respond to market failures, and regulation isn't always appropriate from a social welfare perspective (it creates net costs for society).
Main point about CT: Why do we have regulations that do resolve market failures? Why are some regulations actually public-spirited?
Olson still matters. It matters whether you are a big or small player. Big firms will lobby for more protection.
Viscusi summarizes one study that is a nice test of all the theories: bank deregulation. States deregulated banks at different times. So Y = the timing (over a 20-30 year span) of state deregulation. A proxy for the capture idea: Large banks favor deregulation, small banks oppose it. Also, small firms favor deregulation (so that they can get credit cheaper). So the authors look at the share of small firms and small banks in each state.
Research on similar subjects