International Conference on Reviewing the Global Experience with
Economic Regulation
A Forward Looking Perspective
April 18-20, 2011, New Delhi, India

Background and Context

The term ‘regulation’ is associated with such broad usage that its relevance is seen in almost all walks of life. It has, therefore, been classified into various types, one major class being ‘economic regulation’ or regulation that directly affects the number of firms operating in markets, the quantity transacted in each market and shares of participating firms in the transacted amount, and finally, the prices at which these transactions are carried out. Such direct effects might in turn impact the quality of output, the pace of innovation etc.

While there is a fair bit of consensus on the definition of ‘economic regulation’ there is wide disagreement and confusion about the rationale for such regulation. Neo-classical economists consider regulation to be necessitated by market failures, either arising out of the intrinsic characteristics of the industry (externalities, asymmetries information and market failures) or engineered by man through actions that violate the spirit of fair competition. Yet others see it as a means for reducing inequity, including that brought about by unequal distribution of endowments.

Such lack of consensus implies that it is often difficult to define a methodology for measuring quality of economic regulation or even an agenda for consumer participation in regulation that meets the approval of even the majority of experts and practitioners. Disagreement about parameters for evaluation in turn imply that regulatory change rarely follows a linear path and is often prey to the whimsies of personalities and the prevailing political environment.

This conference would be a humble attempt to forge some agreement on the mentioned issues by putting on display different approaches for rationalising and evaluating regulation as well as defining stakeholder participation in such regulation; and then inviting discussion and debate among students, experts and practitioners with varying perspectives from different parts of the world.

CUTS would not only showcase its own work on regulation but invite papers both from targeted experts and through an open competition judged by an international panel. The idea would be to showcase the heterogeneity of approaches currently in vogue in regard to the following areas:

  • The rationale for economic regulation

  • Methodology for evaluation of regulation

  • Theory: Competition assessment, consumer impact assessment, regulatory impact assessment, other qualitative approaches

  • Actual case studies of sector regulation

  • Regulatory frameworks and approaches for achieving regulatory coherence

  • Consumer participation in regulation