Policymaker engagement yields cutting-edge research questions

The Tobin Project seeks to facilitate an ongoing exchange of ideas between academics and policymakers that can motivate both better scholarship and better public policy. One example of this process is Tobin’s developing initiative on Preventing Capture, which aims to develop cutting-edge scholarship on the potential for limiting special interest influence in regulation. ;xNLx;;xNLx;In 2009, as the financial regulatory reform process gained steam, several scholars offered expertise developed through the Tobin Project’s Government & Markets research initiative to help confront emerging policy challenges related to regulation. While the scholars’ research informed new policy on systemic risk management and the design of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, policymakers continually raised one question: How can we protect new regulatory agencies from the threat of industry capture? ;xNLx;;xNLx;Tobin Project scholars, including Daniel Carpenter (Harvard University, Government), Steven Croley (University of Michigan Law School), and David Moss (Harvard Business School), offered guidance on the question of regulatory capture based on the latest research available, but recognized that contemporary scholarship has not offered adequate insight. To address this problem, Professors Carpenter, Croley, and Moss launched the Tobin Project’s Preventing Capture initiative, convening leading experts to produce an edited volume on how to design and reform regulatory agencies to better serve the public interest and to limit industry capture. ;xNLx;;xNLx;Guided throughout the research process by questions from policymakers, the research inquiry is again beginning to inform policy. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has worked with authors to ground the volume in real-world policy concerns and has incorporated author Susan Webb Yackee’s (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Political Science and Public Affairs) research into a Senate bill that aims to prevent regulatory capture.

2009-03-01 12:26:42

March 2009

Legislation is introduced in the House and Senate proposing a new agency to protect consumers of financial products.

2009-04-01 12:26:42

April 2009

At Tobin’s Government & Markets conference, scholars further develop research with policymaker input on the regulation of consumer financial products.

2009-06-01 12:26:42

Summer 2009

Tobin scholars provide expertise in the development of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and are asked how to prevent “capture."

2009-09-01 12:26:42

Fall 2009

Tobin scholars Steve Croley and David Moss advise key policymakers on systemic risk regulation and consumer financial regulation.

2009-11-01 12:26:42

November 2009

In response to a request from lawmakers, Professor Croley prepares a memo on preventing capture at the proposed CFPA.

2010-01-01 12:26:42

January 2010

Professors Carpenter, Croley, and Moss propose a Tobin Project initiative on “preventing capture” and prepare to develop an edited volume.

2010-08-01 12:26:42

August 2010

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) holds a Congressional hearing on preventing regulatory capture.

2010-11-01 12:26:42

November 2010

Contributors to the Preventing Capture volume meet for a workshop at the Tobin Project, joined by Senator Whitehouse.

2011-02-01 12:26:42

February 2011

Professor Yackee discusses proposed legislation aimed at preventing capture with Senator Whitehouse’s staff.

2011-07-01 12:26:42

July 2011

Senator Whitehouse introduces two bills to address agency capture.

Policymaker engagement yields cutting-edge research questions

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