Jan 292015
 January 29, 2015

edward_balleisenThe Graduate School at Duke recognized Ed Balleisen, Program Director for Rethinking Regulation at KIE, with a Dean’s Award. Balleisen is joined by seven other recipients, professors and graduate students, who have been recognized for their work in mentoring, teaching, and promoting diversity in graduate education. Balleisen’s work with the Institute includes teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in regulatory ethics and serving as a team leader on a Bass Connections project. Read how past undergraduates from Balleisen’s course have used their regulatory knowledge through internships.

Jan 272015
 January 27, 2015

Dhaka_Savar_Building_Collaps-400eCALL FOR PAPERS
The Kenan Institute for Ethics Prize in Regulatory Ethics and Human Rights

Where are we now? Evaluating changes in regulatory and business practices in response to South Asian garment factory disasters

The Kenan Institute for Ethics Prize in Regulatory Ethics and Human Rights is an essay competition for undergraduate students interested in business ethics, workplace safety and regulation, and human rights. This year’s policy focus is the regulatory responses to the collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24, 2013, which caused the deaths of over 1,100 people and injured 2,500 more. Located in Bangladesh, the eight story building housed several factories that churned out cheap clothes for stores around the world — including retailers like Walmart, JC Penney, H&M, and Benetton. Rana Plaza sparked protests around the world as workers and human rights activists pushed for greater corporate responsibility and government oversight of the garment industry.

Approaching the two year anniversary of the tragedy, where are we now in regulating this industry?

In an essay of 3000-5000 words, evaluate the effectiveness of the regulatory response to the recent South Asian garment factory disasters and the implications of these policies for human rights.

Essays may focus on the issues at hand from a variety of perspectives (enforcement, influence of non-governmental organizations, industry self-regulation, etc.), but must include both descriptive research and normative prescriptions.

Participants may submit papers individually or in teams of two students. Entries will be evaluated for their contribution to the communal research site (25%), and the quality of their final essay (75%). This contest is open to all Duke undergraduate students.


  • An initial information session will be held in Bostock Library room 042 at 8:00pm (pizza provided).
  • The deadline to register to participate in the competition is 5:00PM, Friday, February 13. To register, please fill out this online form.
  • There will be an open “office hours” session for registered participants to consult with the Duke Human Rights Center@KIE and Rethinking Regulation@KIE faculty and staff on Thursday, February 19 from 3:00-6:00PM.
  • Access to the research website and details regarding the office hours will be provided after registration is approved.
  • Essays will be due to Kate Preston by 5:00PM on Sunday, March 29.
  • The three finalists will present their analyses before a panel of judges at a public event on Monday, April 13, at 5:00PM in West Duke 101. Winners will receive cash prizes, their essays will be published on the Kenan Institute for Ethics website, and their policy recommendations will be distributed to relevant international organizations.

Email Kate Preston for more information.

Jan 202015
 January 20, 2015

BrethertonIn an opinion piece for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, KIE Senior Fellow and Co-Convenor of the Religions and Public Life program Luke Bretherton (Divinity) recently wrote about the amended plans for a weekly Muslim call to prayer to be made from the Duke Chapel bell tower.

What the action does raise is the question of how should we undertake interfaith relations in a time when the relationship between different faiths and political life is under intense, often violent negotiation at a local, national and international level throughout the world.

This is no small matter. What should be the response for those who, like the leaders of Duke Chapel, are seeking to find a proactive and constructive response to events in the world and thereby show a better way of fostering a peaceable common life? Is such a response best undertaken by religious professionals and specialists, and conceived of as a directly religious action, as happened at Duke? Or is it best to find ways to manage interfaith relations from “above” by governments and the likes of university administrators? Or should such responses emerge from bottom up, peer-to-peer, relationally driven initiatives understood as forms of civic rather than religious practice?

Jan 202015
 January 20, 2015

Bass-KIELast year, Bass Connections at Duke and the Kenan Institute for Ethics forged a new partnership thanks to the Silver Family Fund. This allows joint funding for projects chosen by the Bass Connections theme leaders that also connect to one of KIE’s five program areas in Human RightsGlobal MigrationRethinking RegulationMoral Attitudes and Decision-Making, and Religions and Public Life. Another aspect of the KIE-supported research teams is a public symposium on the project’s topic.

The three projects chosen for joint support in 2015-2016 include:

Reviewing Retrospective Regulatory Review
Bass Connections themes: Information, Society & Culture and Energy
KIE program connection: Rethinking Regulation

Citizenship Lab: Civic Participation of Refugee Youth In Durham
Bass Connections theme: Education & Human Development
KIE program connection: Global Migration

Increasing the Living Kidney Donor Pool: Mechanisms, Models, and Motivations
Bass Connections themes: Global Health and Brain & Society
KIE program connection: Moral Attitudes & Decision-Making

Bass Connections supports interdisciplinary teams of collaborators, providing undergraduates with the opportunity to join faculty, graduates students, and post-docs. These teams work on problem-based research around the themes of brain & society; information, society & culture; global health; energy; and education & human development. There are currently three jointly supported projects underway. The partnership between KIE and Bass furthers the missions of both to foster innovative work and thinking across different kinds of expertise on campus as well as to enrich student education.

Jan 132015
 January 13, 2015

Noah-newQuoted in Raleigh’s News & Observer, KIE Director Noah Pickus addressed the Republican plans to thwart President Obama’s executive actions toward immigration reform.

This is exactly what could be expected in response to the president’s unilateral action and the past history of broken negotiations…The legacy of distrust on both sides builds and builds until we are now reduced to tit-for-tat actions. This isn’t governance; it’s war by other means.

Jan 062015
 January 6, 2015

Standard_OilThis spring, advanced undergraduates and graduate students will participate in a research seminar comparing antitrust policy and enforcement through time as well as across the globe.

The course is being co-taught by Tim Büthe and Umut Aydin. Büthe is a Senior Fellow with the Kenan Institute for Ethics and member of KIE’s Rethinking Regulation Faculty Advisory Group. He specializes in the evolution and persistence of institutions such as regulatory bodies and the ways in which institutions enable and constrain actors. Aydin has just joined the Institute for a semester residency as a George C. Lamb, Jr. Regulatory Fellow. She is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, where she specializes in competition policy.

The enforcement of antitrust law, known as competition policy in the rest of the world, is supposed to safeguard market competition.  It is one of the most powerful tools governments have at their disposal to ensure that the benefits of a market economy are widely shared, maintain incentives to lower prices, seek greater efficiency, and innovate. The course is designed as a research-oriented upper-level undergraduate seminar (for juniors and seniors), open to graduate students in political science, public policy, law, or business. Registration requires instructors’ permission.  Students interested in taking the course should email Prof. Buthe with a few sentences on their academic backgrounds and interests.

Course information: The Politics of Market Competition in a Global Economy [Political Science 555 / Ethics 555]

Dec 182014
 December 18, 2014

kieran-healyA recent article in The Economist highlights KIE faculty Kieran Healy’s research into what an airplane would look like if the space were allocated in proportion to American socio-economic tiers.

What has happened to make Business Class more cramped? The answer is to be found in Ruling Class. Sorry, I mean, First Class. On Air Gini, those eight most-valued passengers—three and a half percent of those on board—get thirty five percent of the available seating space. That’s a lot of legroom. So much, in fact, that as First Class passengers have spread out to take up the first third of the plane, Air Gini has been forced to replace the luxurious Business Class seats in the real-life configuration with still-comfortable but noticeably smaller chairs.

Dec 172014
 December 17, 2014

Lamb-FellowsGeorge C. Lamb Jr. Visiting Fellows in Regulatory Governance
The Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, in collaboration with Duke’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Fuqua School of Business, invites outstanding scholars of regulatory governance to apply for 1-2 residential George C. Lamb, Jr. Fellowships for the 2015-16 academic year. Fellows will work with the Rethinking Regulation program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, a multi-disciplinary community comprised of faculty members and graduate/professional students from many academic departments and professional schools at Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University. The group’s members study and assess “regulation in action” – the evolving politics, operations, and culture of regulatory institutions, their interactions with regulated businesses and other interest groups, and normative frameworks for the evaluation of regulatory policy.

In addition to pursuing their own research, Lamb Fellows will be expected to participate in Rethinking Regulation seminars and workshops, Kenan Institute for Ethics workshops, and help shape a significant collaborative research project along with other members of the Rethinking regulation community. As part of that collaboration, Fellows will undertake some teaching responsibilities in Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and/or Fuqua School of Business – most likely co-teaching an advanced research seminar focused on subject matter of the collaborative research project, though other arrangements are possible. Fellows can come from any relevant academic discipline, including political science, public policy/administration, history, economics, sociology, cognitive psychology, anthropology, business management, law, environmental studies, risk analysis, and engineering.

Thematic Preferences for 2015-16
We especially welcome proposals from scholars with expertise or a strong emerging interest in one of the following two areas:

  • Retrospective review – assessment of regulatory rules, programs, strategies and agencies, examining what distinguishes successful from unsuccessful regulatory governance.
  • Adaptive regulation – strategies of regulatory governance that can appropriately cope with changing conditions and rapid processes of technological or organizational innovation, in contexts such as financial regulation, the oversight of advanced techniques of extracting fossil fuels (fracking, deep-sea drilling), nanotechnology, etc.

Fellowship Terms
We prefer proposals for the full academic year, but will consider applications for a single semester fellowship. All applicants should: possess a doctorate, J.D., or equivalent professional degree; be at least two years beyond their graduate training; and be based outside the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. All scholarly ranks are eligible. Residence in Durham is expected during the tenure of the fellowship. Lamb Fellows will receive office space at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, full Duke Library privileges, and a modest research account. Primary financial support, in the form of a fellowship grant, will vary according to individual circumstances. We anticipate offering grants equal to one-half of yearly or semester salaries, up to an annually set maximum amount, which may be less than half-salary for professors at the higher end of the compensation spectrum.

Application Process
Applicants should submit all of the following to Amber Díaz Pearson (amber.diaz@duke.edu) by January 9, 2015:

  • A letter of application that describes the candidate’s research areas and experience, ongoing projects, interest in collaborative research and teaching, and rationale for desiring a sustained period of engagement with Rethinking Regulation
  •  A 2-3 page research proposal that details the individual work to be pursued during the term of the fellowship
  • A curriculum vitae
  • Two to four references – these should be individuals who can speak to the candidate’s research expertise, experience in multi-disciplinary contexts, and capacity for/interest in collaborative academic work.

Selection Criteria
The Selection Committee, made up of scholars active in the Rethinking Regulation program, will assess applications on the basis of:

  • The quality of their research and other achievements
  • The promise of their current research, especially in bridging disciplinary divides and informing ongoing regulatory policy debates
  • Their capacity for/interest in collaborative research, teaching, and writing
  • The fit between their expertise and the research priorities identified by Rethinking Regulation.

An affirmative action and equal-opportunity employer, Duke University is committed to increasing the cultural and intellectual diversity of its academic community.

Dec 162014
 December 16, 2014

Teju-Book-Club-400About a year ago, the Kenan Institute for Ethics began a staff book club, modeled after a club begun by the Political Science departmental staff. Our group—made up of several Kenan staff members—meets monthly to discuss works of fiction and non-fiction that relate, broadly, to ethics. The clubs are designed to foster an informal and fun conversational space for Duke employees, and have in the past allowed engagement with authors such as John Green, Teju Cole, and Eula Biss. You can read more about the ethics book club model in a recent Duke Today article.

If you are interested in in starting your own department or school book club and would like a sample list of books or information on our model, please contact Bear Postgraduate Fellow Michaela Dwyer. In addition to our own staff book club, the Kenan Institute is able to partially sponsor additional staff books clubs throughout the university. While we are no longer accepting funding proposals for the current academic year, we will begin taking requests for 2015-2016 in July. Stay tuned to our website for more details! In the meantime, you might consider submitting a Campus Grant application (next round due February 15).


While we are not currently accepting new funding proposals for staff book clubs, please keep in mind the following specifications must be met and addressed in all proposals:

  • Clubs are open only to staff members from Duke departments and schools; clubs must be comprised entirely of Duke staff members
  • Clubs must engage issues surrounding ethics through their book selections and group conversations (sample book list available upon request)
  • Clubs should meet approximately monthly and meet on-campus, preferably during work hours
  • Clubs should be interested in convening with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Political Science, and Sanford School groups for occasional large-group discussions
  • Clubs should submit a report of activities by the end of the year
Dec 162014
 December 16, 2014

051213_bennear_balleisen_krawiec_wiener001In March, 2013, KIE Senior Fellow Kim Krawiec (Law) organized a symposium on paid organ donation as a “taboo trade.” Now the working papers from the event have been edited into a special issue of the Duke Law faculty journal Law and Contemporary Problems. The symposium united medical professionals and academics, and was supported by a Kenan Institute for Ethics faculty grant on topics of public ethics.

You can read more about the project on Krawiec’s blog. Krawiec is a co-investigator of the Recalibrating Risk project and is Kathrine Robinson Everett Professor of Law at Duke Law School.