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Prof. Coglianese receives $1.2 million from the Alberta Energy Regulator to lead initiative developing models of regulatory excellence

November 11, 2014

University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor Cary Coglianese has been selected by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) of Canada to lead a major new initiative developing models of regulatory excellence.

Coglianese, the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Director of the Penn Program on Regulation (PPR), will lead a $1.2 million, university-wide initiative involving research, expert dialogue, and public engagement to identify the attributes of a best-in-class regulator. The Best-in-Class Regulator Initiative seeks to identify ways that regulators like AER can measure attributes of regulatory excellence and continuously strive to improve regulatory performance. 

The AER, established last year under new legislation in the province of Alberta, has a mandate to ensure “the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon resources over their entire life cycle.”  According to the AER’s website, “this includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.”

“Professor Coglianese and his team are demonstrating how cutting-edge research moves beyond the academy,” said Wendell Pritchett, Presidential Professor and Interim Dean of Penn Law. “The cross-disciplinary work of the Penn Program on Regulation is indicative of the kind of innovative scholarship being conducted at Penn Law.”

The AER selected Professor Coglianese and the Penn Program on Regulation through a competitive, international selection process. The Best-in-Class Regulatory Initiative will involve the Penn team working independently of the AER through several stages to identify a variety of key organizational, policy, and deliberative features of outstanding energy regulators and other regulatory authorities around the world. 

The Penn Program on Regulation has established a project website — www.bestinclassregulator.org — to release interim materials as the Best-in-Class Initiative progresses. Professor Coglianese and the project team also welcome anyone to visit the project website and share comments about what makes a best-in-class regulator.

In addition to conducting and overseeing research on regulatory management and performance, the Penn Program on Regulation will host an international expert summit to be held at Penn Law in early 2015. As part of that summit, Professor Coglianese will bring together a global group of university and think-tank based experts, government officials, business leaders, NGO representatives, and stakeholders from Alberta.

Coglianese and his team at PPR will also organize a provincial dialogue summit in Alberta to foster structured dialogue on regulatory excellence by a cross-section of interested stakeholders, such as local landowners, community leaders, environmental groups, First Nations representatives, oil and gas industry leaders, government officials, and others.

The project will generate research papers and reports, and will culminate in a final report to be presented to the AER’s senior leadership and its board detailing the project’s findings and recommendations. A draft of that final report will be subjected to a peer review workshop involving additional independent experts on regulation from around the world.

“We are committed to becoming a best-in-class regulator,” said AER Chief Executive Officer Jim Ellis. “With the expertise of Professor Coglianese, and his research team at Penn, we believe we can continue to improve and ensure we are always at the forefront of responsible energy regulation.”

Coglianese has assembled a multi-disciplinary team of advisors and collaborators for the project, linking the Penn Program on Regulation with the new Scott and Wendy Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, the Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, the Penn Project for Civic Engagement, the Penn-Wharton Public Policy Initiative, and the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center.

“The AER’s interest in an independent process and an evidence-based model is truly distinctive,” said Coglianese. “This project affords a unique opportunity to apply research from multiple disciplines to help define and identify ways to measure the best regulators as they pursue vital societal goals.”

Under Coglianese’s leadership, the Penn Program on Regulation brings together faculty from across Penn to foster and disseminate research, engage policymakers, and prepare future leaders to meet the regulatory challenges of the global economy. Through a combination of cross-disciplinary collaboration, rigorous analysis, and public outreach, PPR seeks not only to advance the study of regulatory processes but also to improve them.

Coglianese is an internationally recognized scholar of regulation and administrative law, whose work has emphasized the empirical evaluation of regulatory strategies and the role of public participation, negotiation, and policy analysis in regulatory policy making. His recent books include Does Regulation Kill Jobs? (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) and Regulatory Breakdown: The Crisis of Confidence in U.S. Regulation (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). He also served as a founding editor of the international, peer-reviewed journal Regulation & Governance, and he created RegBlog.org, a daily online source of regulatory news, analysis, and opinion.

In addition to Coglianese, the Best-in-Class Initiative’s leadership team includes Dr. Adam Finkel, Executive Director of PPR, as well as Shari Shapiro L’05, a research associate at PPR and the President of Calliope Communications, who will serve as the Project Manager.