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captured agency

A government agency, especially a regulatory agency, that is largely under the influence of the economic interest group(s) most directly and massively affected by its decisions and policies -- typically business firms (and sometimes professional associations, labor unions, or other special interest groups) from the industry or economic sector being regulated. A captured agency shapes its regulations and policies primarily to benefit these favored client groups at the expense of less organized and often less influential groups (such as consumers) rather than designs them in accordance with some broader or more inclusive conception of the public interest.

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