PPR Welcomes Visiting Scholar Sofia Ranchordás

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Ranchordás, a Full Professor of Administrative Law at Tilburg Law School, is a leading scholar of regulation in the digital age.

Sofia Ranchordás, a Full Professor of Administrative Law at Tilburg Law School, joins us at the University of Pennsylvania where she is a Bok Visiting International Professor at the law school. The Penn Program on Regulation (PPR) is also delighted to welcome her as a PPR Visiting Scholar and Research Affiliate.

Ranchordás’ research addresses the automation, datafication, and digitization of government transactions, especially about administrative decision-making and enforcement. She has also published extensively on experimental regulations, sunset clauses, and regulatory sandboxes. The recipient of major research awards, she is currently focusing on key questions of comparative administrative law and regulation in the digital age, including the unequal relationship between citizens and government and how technology reinforces existing inequalities.

Throughout her latest research, Ranchordás examines the different circumstances that place citizens in positions of vulnerability in relation to digital government. Although digitization and automation aim to promote efficiencies, the Dutch child benefits scandal revealed that the benefits of digitization are not equally distributed. Her research shows that, for many citizens, digitization and automation are a source of anxiety that hinders the exercise of their rights. And yet existing rules and principles of good administration still do not take into account the vulnerability of citizens in relation to digital government.

Ranchordás studied law at the Universidade Catolica Portuguesa in Portugal (LLB and LLM, summa cum laude), Law Economics at the University of Utrecht (LLM, cum laude), and obtained her PhD cum laude at Tilburg Law School and the University of Antwerp in 2014. She received the Prize for Best Dissertation of Tilburg University in 2014. She has served as a visiting scholar at George Washington University Law School, a Resident Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project, and a short-term Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia.

Previous to her current position, Ranchordás served as an Assistant Professor of Constitutional and Administrative law at the University of Leiden before becoming Associate Professor with ius promovendi and then Full Professor of European and comparative public law at the University of Groningen. Since 2021 Ranchordás has also been part-time Professor of Public Law, Innovation and Sustainability at LUISS Guido Carli where she teaches Regulatory Innovation and Regulatory Policy. Since 2022, she has also been a Research Visiting Professor at the faculty of Sociology (department of Socio-legal Studies) of Lund University where she is the co-PI of a large project on the automation of the welfare state in Scandinavia.

She has received several awards and grants for her work, including a Niels Stensen Fellowship and fellowships from the Knight Foundation, WASP-HS (Sweden), KNAW, Independent Social Research Foundation, the Norwegian Research Council, and NWO Smart Governance. Her scholarship has been published in leading law journals, such as Computer Law & Security and Duke Law Journal, as well as with Oxford University Press and Cambridge University. Ranchordás’ forthcoming book Introduction to Law and Regulation, 2nd edition (with Karen Yeung) will be published in 2024 with Cambridge University Press and offers a primer on regulation from an interdisciplinary perspective. She has advised several governmental bodies on regulatory matters such as the European Commission and the Dutch Ministries of Interior and Infrastructure. Her research has often been cited by international courts as well as by both national and international media, including the Wall Street Journal, Le Temps, El Pais, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, NRC, RTL News, and Diario de Noticias.

While she is visiting at Penn Carey Law, Ranchordás will be teaching a course on EU Regulation of Big Tech, as well as delivering additional lectures on the EU’s AI Act and on regulation and gender equity.

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