A major lecture series on race and regulation was held at the University of Pennsylvania throughout the 2021-22 academic year. Sponsored by the Penn Program on Regulation (PPR), the lecture series fostered inquiry into how government regulation has contributed to racial inequities as well as how changes to regulatory policies could be used to dismantle racist structures in society.
PPR also has a podcast, Race and Regulation, that draws on the lectures delivered as part of our lecture series.
The effects of government regulations do not fall equally across all segments of society. As a historic matter, a host of government policies in the United States—including housing policies and other forms of regulation—have benefitted white Americans to the detriment of people of color. Efforts to promote racial justice can benefit from a greater understanding of the role that regulatory systems have played, and still may be playing, in institutionalizing inequities in society.
This lecture series also contributes to the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s overarching commitment to research, teaching, and outreach on racial justice.
“By peeling back the curtain on the power of regulation to sustain or, with reform, to dismantle oppressive systems, the Penn Program on Regulation’s new lecture series can have a tremendous impact on educating and empowering our students to be agents of change,” says Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, Associate Dean for Equity and Justice, and the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer at Penn’s Law School. The Penn Law Office of Equity and Inclusion supported the development of the series.
The lecture series builds on efforts by the Penn Law students who produce PPR’s online publication, The Regulatory Review, which in 2020 established an annual online symposium on race, regulation, and the administrative state.
PPR Director Cary Coglianese notes that “improving regulatory systems and the behavior of regulatory personnel remains an essential avenue for delivering on the promise of equal justice for Black persons, as well as for Indigenous and other minority communities facing oppression and discrimination.”
Each lecture in the series was held via Zoom. The full slate of lectures is listed below. Click on the lecture titles to find the video recording of that lecture. A playlist of all the recordings is available on our YouTube channel.
Professor Brummer, whose expertise includes financial inclusion and equity, financial regulation, and global governance, served previously on the National Adjudicatory Council of FINRA, a regulator of the securities industry. He also was a member of the Biden-Harris Transition team, advising on financial technology, racial equity, and systemic risk issues. His publications include What Do the Data Reveal About (the Absence of Black) Financial Regulators?
Professor Trounstine studies American politics and political representation, with a focus on how political institutions generate racial and socioeconomic inequalities. She is the author of the award-winning book, Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities.
Professor Charles studies election law, race and law, and constitutional law, and directs the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard. He is co-editor of Race, Reform, and Regulation of the Electoral Process: Recurring Puzzles in American Democracy, and is at work on a new book, on which this lecture is based. This lecture is also the Penn Program on Regulation’s 2021 Distinguished Regulation Lecture, as well as a 2021 Public Interest Week event.
Professor Roberts is a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and the founding director of the Program on Race, Science & Society at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare and Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families—And How Abolition Can Build a Safer World, on which this lecture is based.
Professor Fisher’s work explores how social inequalities are produced or exploited by commercialized medicine in the United States, especially in the conduct of clinical trials. Her talk will build on insights from her award-winning book, Adverse Events: Race, Inequality, and the Testing of New Pharmaceuticals.
Professor Allen is internationally renowned as an expert on privacy and data protection law, ethics, bioethics, legal philosophy, women’s rights, and diversity in higher education. A prolific scholar, Professor Allen’s include Unpopular Privacy: What Must We Hide and Privacy Law and Society. This lecture will present new work, with Professor Ezekiel J. Dixon-Román of Penn’s School of Social Policy and Practice serving as discussant.
In this lecture, Prof. Feinstein discusses new research looking at the regional Federal Reserve Bank boards and reveals how their diversity corresponds with increased lending to underbanked minority communities. He also addresses what this finding implies more broadly about the significant role that diversity in government and corporate boards may play in advancing equitable policy outcomes.
Drawing on a recent essay published in the Yale Law Journal, Professor Johnson in this lecture examines the drivers of racial inequity in early access to COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. She also discusses how regulatory tools could have been used more effectively to promote equity in the vaccine rollout—and what can be learned not only for the next public health emergency, but also for addressing racial disparities in other policy areas.
In this lecture, Professor Chen discusses her research on the regulatory barriers that prevent racial minorities and non-citizens from participating equally in the American political process, such as voter identification laws and proposals to contract political representation of noncitizens in Congress and state legislatures. Prof. Chen offers three proposals for regulatory changes that could enhance political equality for these groups and create a more inclusive political order.
Professor Ho‘s scholarship centers on quantitative empirical legal studies, with a substantive focus on administrative law and regulatory policy, antidiscrimination law, and courts. As director of the Regulation, Evaluation, and Governance Lab, his work has developed high-demonstration projects of data science in public policy, through partnerships with a range of government agencies. This lecture draws from a recent article, “Disparate Limbo: How Administrative Law Erased Antidiscrimination,” published in the Yale Law Journal.
The Penn Program on Regulation would like to thank the Penn Law Office of Equity and Inclusion for its co-sponsorship of this series, as well as the following other programs at the University of Pennsylvania that co-sponsored individual lectures: Penn’s Asian American Studies Program, Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies, Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration, Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition; The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research; Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics; Penn Institute for Urban Research; Penn Medicine Center for Health Equity Advancement; the Wharton School’s Legal Studies & Business Ethics Department; and the Wharton Initiative on Financial Policy and Regulation. The series also is part of Penn Law’s Achieving Racial Justice colloquium.