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Penn Program on Regulation releases research on what makes a regulator excellent

July 27, 2015

The Penn Program on Regulation released more than twenty research papers and reports produced under the auspices of their Best-in-Class Regulator Initiative, which offers essential guidance to regulators around the world about how to improve their performance.

The Penn Program on Regulation (PPR) released the largest-ever single collection of research papers and reports aimed at understanding and promoting the excellent management of regulatory agencies. The more than twenty research papers and reports produced under the auspices of PPR’s Best-in-Class Regulator Initiative, sponsored by the Alberta Energy Regulator, offer essential guidance to regulators around the world about how to improve their performance.

“This is a must-read, treasure trove for anyone seeking to improve the work of regulators in any democratic society,” said Cary Coglianese, PPR’s Director and the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 

“We asked experts from around the world, ‘What makes a regulator excellent?’” said Coglianese. Their answers can be found in the collected work that is now available on the Best-in-Class Regulator Initiative website.

Among the contributing experts to the project are John Braithwaite from the Australian National University, Dan Esty from Yale University, John Graham of Indiana University, Bridget Hutter of the London School of Economics, and Wendy Wagner of the University of Texas. Their papers will appear next year in a volume edited by Coglianese and published by the Brookings Institution Press.

In addition to the more than dozen expert papers on regulatory excellence released, PPR also released three summary reports on regulatory dialogues it held this past spring on regulatory excellence, including two held in Alberta, Canada. The third dialogue, held at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, brought together experts from around the world.

“We learned a tremendous amount from all of these dialogue sessions,” Coglianese said.

In addition to the dialogue summary reports, PPR released five major research papers on regulatory priority setting, enforcement and instrument design, institutional structure, organizational culture, and transparency and public engagement.

PPR also launched a week-long series on that draws on the Best-in-Class Regulator Initiative. This RegBlog series includes extended keynote remarks delivered by Dame Deirdre Hutton, the Chair of the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, at the project’s dialogue session held at Penn Law in March.

Video-recordings of opening presentations at the dialogue held in Calgary in April, including remarks by Jim Ellis, the President and CEO of the Alberta Energy Regulator, were also just released.

All of the papers and reports released are available on the Best-in-Class Regulator Initiative website: Later this year, PPR will release a final report that draws on all of the material released.


Best-in-Class Regulator Initiative Research

Expert Papers

Regulatory Excellence and Lucidity
Robert Baldwin
London School of Economics

Responsive Excellence
John Braithwaite
Australian National University

A Systems Approach to Regulatory Excellence
Angus Corbett
Penn Program on Regulation

Regulatory Excellence:  Lessons from Theory and Practice
Daniel C. Esty
Yale University

Beyond Best-in-Class: Three Secrets to Regulatory Excellence
Adam M. Finkel
University of Pennsylvania

Beyond Process Excellence: Enhancing Societal Well-Being
John D. Graham
Indiana University

Paul R. Noe
American Forest & Paper Association

Compliance, Enforcement, and Regulatory Excellence
Neil Gunningham
Australian National University

Regulatory Excellence and Democratic Accountability
Kathryn Harrison
University of British Columbia

What Makes a Regulator Excellent? A Risk Regulation Perspective
Bridget M. Hutter
London School of Economics

Regulatory Excellence via Multiple Forms of Expertise
David Levi-Faur
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

What Makes a Regulator Excellent?: Mission, Funding, Information, and Judgment
Shelley H. Metzenbaum
Gaurav Vasisht
Volcker Alliance

Performance Principles for Regulators
Donald P. Moynihan
University of Wisconsin

Regulatory Excellence:  The Role of Policy Learning and Reputation
David Vogel
University of California, Berkeley

Regulating by the Stars
Wendy Wagner
University of Texas

Dialogue Reports

Research Papers

Keynote Remarks

Video Presentations

Interim Convener’s Report

Other Project Papers

RegBlog Essays


Penn Program on Regulation

Based at Penn Law, the Penn Program on Regulation brings together thirty experts from across six schools at the University of Pennsylvania, a private, Ivy-League institution known as one of the world’s premier centers for teaching and research. PPR brings rigorous, balanced analysis from multiple disciplines to bear on important regulatory policy problems and alternative strategies for solving them, as well as on the processes of making and implementing regulation.


Alberta Energy Regulator

The Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) mandate is to ensure the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon resources over their entire life cycle. It is the single regulator of energy development in the province of Alberta, Canada — from application and exploration, to construction and development, to abandonment, reclamation, and remediation