Silicon Flatirons Center
A Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship
at the University of Colorado
Institute of Regulatory Law and Economics (IRLE)
The Institute for Regulatory Law & Economics (IRLE) is sponsored by the University of Colorado Silicon Flatirons Center as a means of supporting thoughtful regulatory decision-making. In particular, the IRLE hosts an annual seminar for state public utility commissioners and staff as well as engages in state outreach activities. In so doing, it works with two related Silicon Flatirons initatives—the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic and the Hatfield Scholars & Research Program.
Each May, the IRLE hosts a seminar geared towards educating state regulators about economic analysis of regulatory policy issues. Notably, the Institute distills the critical law and economics issues that arise in closely-regulated network industries and presents them in a coherent fashion.
To present its curriculum, the IRLE draws on the expertise of leading academics, practitioners, and scholars. In short, the IRLE teaches regulators how to appreciate insights that emerge from important economic principles and concepts as well as how to apply them to regulatory situations in network industries. In particular, the IRLE highlights the important tools provided by neoclassical economics, transaction cost economics, new institutional economics, "code as law," and public choice theory. To do so, it features an academically rigorous and demanding curriculum, imparted over the course of long class days and evening sessions.
The five-day intensive seminar is held in May at the Aspen Meadows conference center of the Aspen Institute. To foster discussion and cohesion, attendance is limited to approximately fifteen to twenty attendees.
Classes are both lecture and seminar-style. Questioning and discussion are encouraged. Indeed, participants in the seminar will be required to lead certain class sessions and the best parts of the program often result from less formal discussions that hone and apply the relevant concepts. To inspire such discussions, presentations on economic theory are generally followed by discussions of real world applications and hypotheticals.
One highlight of the curriculum is the use of the experimental economics demonstrations. In particular, the experiments put the attendees in the roles of market actors, making output, pricing and quality decisions within varying regulatory and market parameters.
To facilitate an informal exchange of ideas, the academic program is supplemented both by receptions and common meals where faculty members will be present and available to continue the educational process and experience.