Improving Regulatory Decisions

Font Size:

Leading business, law, and government professionals study regulation in cutting-edge executive education course.

Font Size:

“How do you make sound decisions in today’s fast-paced legal and business environment?”

That question motivated a four-day executive education course recently held at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, said Cary Coglianese, the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and the Director of the Penn Program on Regulation.

In May, the Penn Law certificate program, “Regulatory Analysis and Decision-Making,” brought together 35 professionals and leaders from seven countries to learn how to make better decisions related to regulation.

“Regulation seeks to solve problems by changing behavior,” said Coglianese, who organized the course. “Participants gained the analytic tools needed to solve problems more effectively.”

In nearly every domain of business and law today, regulatory issues abound. With rapidly changing technologies and business practices, many of the biggest challenges facing organizations center on regulation.

“Successful lawyers, managers, and other professionals need to understand how to make good decisions in a regulated environment,” noted Cheryl Hardy, L’94, Executive Director of Penn Law’s Legal Education Programs. Participants came from corporations, law firms, and government agencies, ranging from the local to the national level.

“The talent and varied leadership experiences among the course participants immensely enriched the classroom experience,” said Coglianese, who has also taught regulatory executive education courses at Harvard, the Wharton School, and other institutions.

Reflecting the diversity of participants, the Penn Law executive education course drew faculty from across the University of Pennsylvania, including not only Penn Law but the Wharton School, the Weitzman School of Design, and the School of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to Coglianese, the course faculty included renowned Penn Law Professors Jonathan Klick, an economist as well as a lawyer, who taught sessions on statistical analysis, and Jonah Gelbach, also a lawyer and economist, who taught benefit-cost analysis. Participants learned the psychology underlying regulatory nudges from Professor Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, one of the nation’s foremost scholars of law and psychology.

Richard Berk, a professor in the Wharton School’s Department of Statistics and Penn’s Criminology Department, addressed the role of machine learning in improving regulatory systems. Carolyn Kousky from Wharton and Mark Alan Hughes from PennDesign focused on how to analyze risk and uncertainty. Shelley Metzenbaum, the former head of performance management in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, taught sessions on how to measure and improve the performance of regulatory programs.

“Effective regulatory decision-making ultimately demands interdisciplinary knowledge, which is why Penn Law is the ideal institution to host this course,” Hardy said. The Penn Program on Regulation, based at Penn Law, brings together faculty from across the Ivy League university.

Course participants found that the sessions delivered immediate positive value for their work.

“This was essentially holding a magnifying mirror to the many issues facing my organization,” noted one participant.

Another participant commented that the course “was an excellent tour de force through the essentials of regulatory management and emerging trends.”

“The skills covered in this course are vital to achieving excellence in any regulatory system around the world,” said Coglianese.

The course was specifically designed to give participants background in a range of skills and analytic tools. “Whether in writing rules, enforcing them, or having to comply with them, professionals today need a range of skills that go beyond those traditionally taught in law school or other professional programs,” he added.

Following the successful conclusion of the four-day executive education program, Penn Law also released an online certificate specialization in Regulatory Compliance. The online course, offered through Coursera and taught by adjunct Penn Law faculty members Andrew Kandel and Lauren Steinfeld, provides an understanding of what it takes to build an effective organizational culture of compliance. Available to anyone with an Internet connection, the Regulatory Compliance specialization includes specific applications addressing data privacy law as well as issues of compliance with anti-corruption rules.

The Penn Program on Regulation brings rigorous, balanced analysis from multiple disciplines to bear on important regulatory policy problems and alternative strategies to solve them, as well as on the processes of making and implementing regulation. The Program sponsors The Regulatory Review, a daily source of global news, commentary, and research on all facets of regulation.