The Regulatory Policy Institute Research Group

Regulatory Policy Institute Annual Westminster Conference 2023 – The Nature of Regulation:  Seeing the Wood from the Trees

Wednesday 19th April
One Great George Street, Westminster

Bookings are open for the upcoming Westminster Conference!

Consistent with the RPI’s purpose (promoting the study of regulation for the public benefit), this year’s Westminster Conference will take a form closer to a ‘teach in’ or a challenging away-day than is traditional, particularly in the morning.

The morning sessions will comprise a series of shorter and longer platform contributions interlaced with general discussion, organised along a time-line of developed or semi-developed regulatory philosophies, starting in Ancient Time (e.g. Confucian and Daoist perspectives) and ending with ‘neuro-economics’ (e.g. what can the structure of the human brain teach us about the organisation of information processing and decision-making systems?).  Along the way, we hope to examine the thinking and rationales associated with various philosophies observable in: medieval sumptuary laws (an example of the ‘regulation of consumption’) and market regulation; the Scottish Enlightenment and liberalism; the subsequent emergence of the ‘terribles simplificateurs’; the ‘new’ institutional economics; public interest theories of regulation and the market failure doctrine; and the ‘economic’ theories of regulation associated with the University of Chicago.

Confirmed platform speakers for the morning are: 
Dr Iain McGilchrist, Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and author of ‘The Matter with Things’ and ‘The Master and His Emissary’;
Rob Bell, Fellow, Durham Business School,
Harold Hutchinson, Investec and RPI;
George Yarrow, Emeritus Fellow, Hertford College, Oxford and RPI,
Chris Decker, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford and RPI.

The afternoon will take a more structured form, whilst still leaving scope for one or two shorter platform contributions in the spirit of the morning and, hopefully, will be informed at least in part by the earlier tour d’horizon.  The sub-theme will be:  Managing networks and systems under pressure of excess, conflicting demands: the Peter Parker problem (the Peter Parker in question being a former Chair of British Rail – ‘it was the first job I had where I had no idea what would constitute success’ – not Spider-Man).  The focus will therefore be on traditional networks sectors in energy, communications, and water, and their struggles with pressures from sources of excess demand, most obviously, but not exclusively, arising from policy responses to climate change challenges. But there will also be scope for one or two other short, contributions on topics such as the regulation of migration flows, an issue on which the RPI has very recently initiated a new research project.

Confirmed platform speakers for the afternoon are:
Juliet Young, Chief Economist at Ofwat
Keith Anderson, CEO of Scottish Power,
Tanja Salem, Director of Economics at BT
Stephen Gibson, Chair of the Regulatory Policy Committee
John Ivory, Director of Economics at Ofcom

 Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Informal post-conference drinks and discussions will be held in a venue nearby. To book please download the booking form. 

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