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How To Regulate with Excellence

September 12, 2023

Prof. Cary Coglianese discusses how regulators can sharpen their skills and produce better regulatory outcomes.

In this interview for The Regulatory Review, regulatory scholar Cary Coglianese examines the core requirements for achieving regulatory excellence: integrity, stellar competence, and empathetic engagement.

Coglianese is the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and the director of the Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. A national expert on administrative law and regulatory policymaking, his research has focused on cross-cutting issues related to regulation, such as public participation, transparency, and negotiation in the regulatory process. His work also spans a variety of substantive issues, including environmental regulation, health and safety, and law and technology. Some of his most recent work analyzes the possibilities and challenges raised by artificial intelligence and its use by regulators.

Cary Coglianese, Edward B. Shils Professor of Law Cary Coglianese, Edward B. Shils Professor of LawA prolific scholar, Coglianese’s book, Achieving Regulatory Excellence, brings together perspectives on regulatory quality from experts around the world. In his introduction to Achieving Regulatory Excellence, Coglianese notes that “regulators tend to face some of the most difficult challenges in society.” He emphasizes that, even though regulation is often thought to be a highly complex enterprise, the best regulators possess much more than just technical expertise. Regulatory excellence, he argues, comprises “people excellence,” or the ability to understand and effectively shape the behavior of other people.

In this discussion with The Regulatory Review, adapted from an interview published in Regulatory Focus, Coglianese contends that regulators need a thorough understanding of their industries to effectively identify the causes of problems that need regulatory fixing. 

From The Regulatory Review:

TRR: What is the mission of the Penn Program on Regulation (PPR), and could you talk about your role as the program’s director?

Coglianese: The Penn Program on Regulation is based at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School but draws together more than sixty faculty from different disciplines across our entire university. We focus in particular on important emerging issues related to regulation and bring together leading researchers and professionals to conduct cutting-edge research. Our major research initiatives in recent years have focused on timely issues such as global trade, regulatory quality and management, and the relationship between regulation and employment. Currently, we are studying the connections between regulation and inequality, and we have underway a major study on how the benefits and costs of regulation have been distributed across eight major federal regulatory areas in the United States.

We also sponsor a publication—The Regulatory Review—which provides an open platform for researchers, lawyers, analysts and public officials to share new ideas and exchange views across the political spectrum. In addition, we sponsor a variety of executive education training opportunities, research seminars, workshops, and conferences. As the program’s founder and director, I see my role as one of building on the extraordinary intellectual energy and talent of my amazing colleagues, graduate fellows and students, supporting and channeling their work in a productive direction—and then helping to communicate with the world outside the university about what our research and teaching has to contribute… . 

Read Coglianese’s full interview at The Regulatory Review.