Is the current term for US patent protection too long, and does it stifle or encourage innovation? Do mergers restrain trade and commerce? How does one regulate a monopoly and establish parameters for pricing? How does one even identify a monopoly?
These questions are among the many that twenty-one recent law school and public policy school graduates and students are grappling with over a two-week period in the inaugural Hoover IP2 summer teaching institute on the economics and politics of regulation. Organized by Hoover’s Bing Senior Fellow Stephen Haber and Senior Associate Director Richard Sousa, the institute’s goal is to equip attendees with analytic tools crucial to good policy making. At the institute, the attendees develop skills that foster systematic and objective thinking about regulatory systems and, importantly, leave with the ability to evaluate the consequences of changes in the regulatory and legal environments.
“What we are doing,” Haber said, “is supplementing what these young and prospective policy makers and law clerks have learned in graduate school and law school. We are filling a void by integrating economics, regulation, political science, and legal studies in a way many graduate schools do not and, further, preparing the students to evaluate all the consequences—pecuniary and nonpecuniary—of legal and regulatory options they are presented with.”
Modeled after graduate business schools’ executive education programs, the summer teaching institute gives students a unique opportunity to confer with peers and new colleagues and to learn from award-winning teachers from leading universities from around the country. Haber, Hoover Institution national fellow Zorina Khan, and Stanford professors Wesley Hartmann and Michael Tomz joined professors from the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard, the Naval Postgraduate School, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Rochester, and the University of Washington to make presentations on competition, mergers, and antitrust; the US patent system; financial market regulation; and energy and environmental issues.
Sousa noted that “intellectual property issues do not stop at the border; it’s not surprising that, given disparities in laws, culture, and environment, we see many international disputes. To that end, we invited a number of students from around the world to join us.” In addition to the American students, participants came from Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, India, Pakistan, Romania, South Korea, and Venezuela. One attendee said that in the program he had met “students from across the world who are not only well versed in their field of study but are highly motivated and have great innovative minds [seeking] to foster change in society.”
The attendees, who lived in Stanford University housing, commented positively on the opportunity to extend their days in lively, unplanned evening conversations. One attendee said that “our discussions are extremely stimulating and often continue late into the evenings. It is almost certain that many excellent ideas will emerge from this collaboration and inspire our work long after the program is over.”
Equipped with a new appreciation for the interaction of law, regulation, economics, and politics, and with an interdisciplinary toolkit, the attendees will return to school, judicial clerkships, and government internships to apply what they learned. Program students are from Stanford, Chapman, the University of Chicago, Columbia, DePaul, George Mason, Georgetown, Harvard, the University of Wisconsin, and Vanderbilt.
Hoover’s Working Group on Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Prosperity (Hoover IP2) consists of three interrelated elements: a network of scholars, research and conferences, and the summer teaching institute. The students will enter the network of scholars and be invited to make presentations at the upcoming Hoover IP2 conferences, providing an intergenerational element of contacts between accomplished scholars and seasoned practitioners and the new entrants into discipline.