PPR Lunch Seminar: The Economic Dynamics of Law
Traditionally, the field of law and economics has treated government regulation as if it were a mere transaction. This microeconomic approach to law assumes that government regulators should aim to make their decisions efficient by seeking to equate costs and benefits at the margin. In this seminar, Professor Driesen argues that the microeconomic model of government regulation misconceives the essence of regulation.
Government regulation produces not an instantaneous transaction, but a set of rules intended to influence future conduct, often for many years. Accordingly, regulation provides a framework for private resource allocation, rather than allocating resources itself. This framework often performs a macroeconomic role by reducing systemic risks that might permanently impair important economic, social, and natural systems. His approach focuses on the shape of change over time in order to avoid systemic risk. He proposes that regulators rely on what he calls economic dynamic analysis in their decision-making, which requires regulators to study how relevant actors respond to economic incentives, taking into account the specific bounds that apply to each group of regulated actors. Such analysis requires, in particular, consideration of countervailing incentives that may defeat legal incentives, as well as the use of scenario analysis in the case of some of our most serious problems.
Professor David M. Driesen is the University Professor at Syracuse University’s College of Law, where he researches and has taught environmental law, law and economics, and constitutional law. He engages in public service mostly focused on defending environmental law’s constitutionality, supporting efforts to address global climate disruption, and reconceptualizing environmental law. He has written numerous amicus briefs in Supreme Court cases and has represented then-Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joseph Biden, and others in Clean Air Act litigation in the D.C. Circuit.
Faculty Events Coordinator