Regulation and Public Policy

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
MON, TUE, WED, THU 9:30 - 10:20 am TNH 3.126

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


The first-year law school curriculum emphasizes common law adjudication. The modern legal landscape, however, is largely shaped by regulatory legislation at both the state and the federal level. This course introduces students to law as public policy, and to public regulatory processes as an alternative to private adjudication. The course serves as a bridge and a complement to upper- level classes in specific regulatory areas, such as environmental law, health law, welfare law, telecommunications law, and energy law. Students will begin by learning economic and non-economic justifications for regulation, and basic analytic tools for evaluating regulation. In weekly sub-units, students will learn the principal methods of regulation: self-regulation, command-and-control regulation, information disclosure, price controls, market incentives, private insurance regulation, social insurance, welfare benefits, and rationing. Students will also examine costs and benefits from regulation, distributive consequences of regulation, political forces affecting regulatory design, and defects in the regulatory process. The course illustrates these problems using a range of recent legislative and regulatory controversies, many involving American health policy and health care regulation. Because graduates of leading law schools often work in or with government, the course also teaches students to write short analytic and persuasive briefing memoranda of the type commonly used in the real world of public policy.