Evolutionary Public Policy (LAW-DS-EVOPP-21)


Department LAW
Course category LAW Intensive Seminar - 3 credits
Course type Seminar
Academic year 2021-2022
Credits 3 (European Credits (EC))
Contact Law Department administration
  Course materials

21/04/2022 9:00-18:00 @ Sala del Consiglio, Villa Salviati

22/04/2022 9:00-13:00 @ Sala del Consiglio, Villa Salviati


This intensive course seeks to understand what regulation of social behaviour would look like if evolutionary perspectives were taken as its starting point.

The course draws on an abundant literature pioneered by Joseph Schumpeter, and further developed in works on behaviorism (Simon), evolution (Nelson and Winter), complexity economics (Arthur), reflexivity (Soros), dynamic capabilities (Teece), etc. Evolutionary scholars stress the limitations of (i) the “cascade of assumptions” of “mainline” theories like short term equilibrium, homogeneous agents and average properties, and rational expectations and preferences; and (ii) “outcome based” methods of policy making that rely on deterministic states of the world by recourse to differential estimates or difference equations. The literature, in turn, implies methods of policy making and regulation that focus on processes, experiments, constant feedback, and agent based modelling.

Concretely, some questions that will be dealt with are the following: can we imagine substantive theories of regulation that account for emergence and evolution and modes of governance that adapt constantly the fast paced reality? To what extent can a rule of law system of control of social behavior be legitimate if it does not offer individuals and businesses a minimum degree of prospectivity? What can we draw from past experiences like wartime policies that required a focus on processes (redundancies, cooperation, etc.) rather than outcomes? Is a regulation that is adaptive, responsive, and reflexive, a slippery slope towards top down micro management of the economy (industrial policy) and authoritarian control of the citizenry (authoritarianism)?

The fields of law and public policy covered in this course span economic regulation, emergency and health policy, science policy, innovation and competitiveness, etc.

Register for this course

Page last updated on 21 September 2018

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