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News Release
November 7, 2003
CONTACT: David Fish
(202) 289-8928

New Regulatory Institute
to Feature Nobel Winner

Institute for Regulatory Law & Economics Will Educate Regulators

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Progress & Freedom Foundation is announcing a new educational and outreach organization designed to enable those who regulate network industries such as telecommunications, the Internet and electricity to learn more about the economic and legal foundations of their trade. The Institute for Regulatory Law & Economics (IRLE) will host state regulators at an annual May conference and seminar, produce a regular publication aimed at experts in regulatory policy and pursue other educational and outreach efforts.

Academic partners of the new venture include the University of Colorado Silicon Flatirons Telecommunications Program and the George Mason University Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science (ICES). The IRLE will draw on in-house Foundation experts and other leading academics, practitioners and scholars, including 2002 Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith, the long-time PFF associate who teaches economics at George Mason University. Joining Smith on the faculty will be Elizabeth Hoffman, President of the University of Colorado, Howard Shelanski of the University of California, Berkeley, and Phil Weiser and Dale Hatfield of the University of Colorado.

Progress & Freedom Foundation Research Fellow and IRLE Director Kent Lassman will brief state regulators on the annual IRLE seminar at the meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners in Washington in mid-November. Up to 24 of the commissioners will attend the May 16-20, 2004, inaugural session at the Aspen Meadows conference center of the Aspen Institute.

“The impetus for this program is to enhance consumer welfare by educating regulators about the law and economics of regulatory decisions,” says Foundation President Raymond L. Gifford. “In all network industries, but particularly electricity and communications, regulators are faced with fine and subtle questions of competition policy. The IRLE will not presume to answer those questions, but will try to offer the analytic tools to begin answering them.” Gifford is immediate past chair of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation