Spring 2014
    Law No.: LAW9220
    Sched. No.: 114220201

Law and Economics of Regulatory Science*
Section 1
Johnston, Jason S.

Administrative Information:
During SIS enrollment, check on SIS for real-time enrollment numbers
Days, Times (Room):R, 1600-1800 (WB116)
Capacity:16 **This information is current as of 04/18/2014 06:15:33 AM**
Current Enrollment:4 **This information is current as of 04/18/2014 06:15:33 AM**

Course Description:

The modern regulatory state is increasingly justified as being based upon science. Courts are, by and large, enormously deferential to science-based regulatory decisions. However, little critical attention has been paid to the process by which regulatory agencies assess and endorse particular scientific results. Very little if any work has been done that evaluates the incentives for both regulators and scientists created by alternative institutions for the assessment, review and endorsement of science in the regulatory process. This Seminar takes aim at these neglected issues. After a quick overview of the wide variety of federal regulatory agencies responsible either for the evaluation of science (e.g the Food And Drug Administration) or the promulgation of science-based regulation (the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior), we will read a number of articles that describe and evaluate the scientific process in both its idealized and realized form. Students will then be assigned to report upon how science is evaluated and used in particular federal agencies and/or international scientific assessment organizations. This part of the course will conclude with the study of a variety of proposals for the reform of science in the regulatory process. The next part of the course surveys and critiques the legal constraints that currently exist on the way federal agencies use science. Topics to be covered include the standard of judicial review for science-based regulation, and selected statutes such as the Data Quality Protection Act. In addition, we will study the regulation of science itself, focusing on when scientific self-regulation – the current default – can be relied upon to eliminate false or spurious scientific results, and when it cannot. The seminar will conclude by studying the principals and practice of regulatory cost-benefit analysis. This is the process by which regulatory benefits (as reported by the relevant scientific) discipline are given a value (monetary or non-monetary), which is then weighed against the costs of regulation (again as reported by the relevant scientific experts and then attached a monetary or non-monetary value). We will study not only the economics of cost-benefit analysis, but also the alternative institutional frameworks for cost-benefit analysis (e.g., statutes may require cost-benefit analysis or it may be required by Executive Order).

Students will be expected to lead class discussion (for example, by describing to the class how a particular regulatory agency evaluates the scientific basis for regulation) at least once. Each student will also be responsible for one short, 5-7 page paper evaluating outside readings for a particular week. Class grade will be based 25 per cent on class participation and 75 per cent on performance on a written final examination. With the instructor’s permission, students may substitute a 20-30 page paper for the final examination.

NOTE: Laptops are not allowed during class sessions.

COURSE REQUIREMENT: Examination (a paper may be substituted with the permission of the instructor) and class participation. NOTE: Students seeking to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement must submit a completed Writing Requirement Intent Form to the Student Records Office no later than February 21, 2014 - retroactive exceptions will not be granted.