Jun 222017

In a newly released policy brief, Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Rethinking Regulation co-director Jonathan Wiener provides context on the complex web of climate change policy, written for the Climate Economics Chair in Paris.

Wiener’s essay, “Climate Policy in the New US Administration,” covers a range of topics related to the current status and possible future of U.S. climate policies in the wake of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the country from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Because America can’t officially withdraw until November 2020 at the earliest, there are still many things that could happen through legislation, litigation and social change.

“The future of climate policy is not determined by a single actor,” writes Wiener, William R. and Thomas L. Perkins Professor of Law at Duke Law School, Professor of Environmental Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and Professor of Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy. “Analysts and activists may imagine optimal climate policy being made by a single benevolent decision maker, but the reality is that climate policy – for better or worse, and both internationally and domestically – involves actions by multiple decision makers with diverse instruments and interests.”

In addition to his brief, Wiener also took part in three-question Q&A with the Climate Economics Chair to provide additional context to the American withdrawal of the Paris Agreement, the role of the Environmental Protection Agency and the topic of a federal carbon tax.

For more information, read the policy brief and the Q&A.

 June 22, 2017
Jun 202017

The Kenan Institute for Ethics has opened a new library space as a resource for the Duke community.

Found in 102 West Duke Building, the library features more than 900 works of fiction and non-fiction, including published selections from all faculty affiliated with Kenan, selections from staff Ethics Books Clubs from across campus, as well as other scholars and writers. The library is named in honor of Robert and Sara Pickus, the parents of Noah Pickus, who served as Kenan’s director from 2007 to 2017.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to come by the Institute and visit the library. Beginning in the fall semester, books can be checked out by Duke community members. A searchable list of books can be found on the library’s webpage.

Along with books written by faculty, the library also includes a collection of books published as the capstone project for Kenan’s Ethics Certificate Program. The most recent release, “Gross! Ethical Issues Surrounding Disgust,” included chapters written by nine students and co-edited by Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and recent graduate Sophie Katz. Previous Ethics Certificate publications explored drugs and addiction, crime and punishment, war and terrorism, and moral and political disagreement.

Have an ethics-focused non-fiction or fiction book you’d like to recommend for the library? Email kie@duke.edu.



 June 20, 2017
Jun 012017

Lori Bennear, co-director of the Rethinking Regulation Program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, has been named Duke’s inaugural Juli Plant Grainger Associate Professor of Energy Economics and Policy.

A leading voice in research and scholarship assessing effectiveness of environmental policies and regulation, Bennear has contributed to Rethinking Regulation’s research and teaching efforts, including Bass Connections teams and the upcoming book, “Policy Shock: Recalibrating Risk and Regulation after Oil Spills, Nuclear Accidents and Financial Crises.”

In addition to a primary appointment as associate professor of environmental economics and policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, Bennear holds secondary faculty appointments at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and its Economics Department, along with serving as co-director of Rethinking Regulation. Bennear will assume the Grainger Professorship and begin a concurrent one-year term as associate director for educational programs at the Duke University Energy Initiative July 1.

“Through her unbiased and clear-eyed scholarship, Lori is helping reshape how we evaluate the real-world impacts of environmental regulations and measure their successes and shortcomings,” said Jeffrey Vincent, Stanback Dean at the Nicholas School.

For more information about Bennear’s new appointment, see this announcement.

 June 1, 2017
May 252017


The Rethinking Regulation Program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics (RR@KIE) at Duke University is seeking a Postdoctoral Fellow for a one-year term (with a possible renewal for a second year, upon mutual agreement of all parties and if funding is available).

RR@KIE fosters research, education, and policy engagement on the evolution, design, deliberation and performance of regulatory systems, across a wide array of policy areas. Linking diverse disciplinary approaches across the Duke campus and beyond, RR@KIE marshals multiple perspectives and methodologies to understand complex problems, confront ethical tradeoffs, and envision solutions.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will support the Rethinking Regulation Program in the following ways:
• Work with faculty director and executive committee to facilitate collaborative research among faculty and students in the Rethinking Regulation program by, e.g., organizing seminars, workshops, symposia, and other research and outreach activities.
• Work with faculty director and executive committee to identify priority research areas and seek external funding for these research areas.
• Assist the faculty in hosting visiting speakers from academia and policy.
• Assist with policy outreach by writing, editing, and/or reviewing policy briefs, blog posts, webpages, and similar publications.
• Work with graduate, professional and undergraduate students involved in Rethinking Regulation to help them organize activities and increase membership.
• Assist with Bass Connections course projects linked with Rethinking Regulation, such as on adaptive governance of emerging technologies, and decision making about complex risks.
• Conduct self-directed research on regulatory policy topics. Interest in ethical as well as legal, economic, political, cultural, and other aspects of regulation is highly desirable. Interest and ability to collaborate with others is highly desirable.

The candidate must have completed a graduate or professional degree, such as PhD, ScD, MD, JD, SJD, MBA, MPP, MEM, or similar.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, genetic information, gender, gender expression, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essential job functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.

To apply, send the following materials to kie@duke.edu: a letter of interest and curriculum vita.

 May 25, 2017
May 252017

Experts from across research and industry fields within healthcare gathered May 22 at the Kenan Institute for Ethics for a special symposium, “Access to Medicines: Policy and Practice.”

Vishy Pingali, Kenan’s 2016-2017 George C. Lamb, Jr. Regulatory Fellow, presents during the “Access to Medicines” symposium.

Hosted by Kenan’s Rethinking Regulation program, about 25 scholars and entrepreneurs took part in discussing topics that addressed the role governments, nonprofits and private entities can play to ensure more people have the ability to care for illnesses – especially due to rising prices and lack of access in developing economies.

Conversation was built around results from the United Nations High Commission’s Special Panel on Access to Medicines, which found that countries must find new approaches to health technology and ensuring access so that all people can benefit from medical advancements.

The event was spearheaded by Kenan’s 2016-17 Lamb Regulatory Fellow, Vishy Pingali,and Julia Barnes-Weise, Executive Director of Global Healthcare Innovation Alliance Accelerator. Experts in attendance work in fields ranging from international intellectual property to public-private global health partnerships and ethics.

Deborah Drew, CEO of Drew Quality Group, Inc. talks about the non-profit organization that is looking to provide generic drugs.

According to Pingali, the group found three main issues emerged as a goal for our future work after hearing from economists, legal scholars, public policy experts and practitioners in medicine. Pingali, who presented research on how government regulation can increase access to medicines, was among a dozen speakers who offered insight on topics that ranged from intellectual property and innovation to policy.

“We need to develop business models for better incentivizing parties to make medicines more affordable and create new paradigms to consider healthcare holistically to answer bigger questions around affordable healthcare and pharmaceuticals,” he said. “We need to have robust public policy frameworks for policy making in this space.”

 May 25, 2017
May 202017

The work of Edward J. Balleisen, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, was recently included in a New York Times story, “From Wells Fargo to Fyre Festival, the Scam Economy Is Entering Its Baroque Phase,” for his new book on fraud.

The piece, written by author Carina Chocano, explores ideas of how “branding and ‘storytelling’ have replaced advertising and possibly even reality,” she writes. Chocano uses Balleisen’s “Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff” as a source of context for the history of fraud in the U.S.

Read the Times piece here and learn more about Balleisen’s book here.

 May 20, 2017
Apr 242017

Jonathan Wiener, co-director of the Rethinking Regulation program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, is the lead co-author of a new report from the International Risk Governance Council, “Transatlantic Patterns of Risk Regulation: Implications for International Trade and Cooperation.”

The report, prepared by the IRGC and commissioned by the European Parliament, is intended to help inform U.S. – E.U. relations regarding regulatory policies, including in trade negotiations and in interagency cooperation.  Wiener and his co-authors focus on four sectors in their analysis: food safety, automobile safety and emissions, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.  The report offers recommendations for international regulatory cooperation, learning from policy variation, and planned adaptive regulation.

“Studying observed regulatory variation, and even experimentation, can assess differences in outcomes from different regulatory approaches, better choices among current standards, and new approaches not yet adopted by either side,” they write in the report. “Both the US and Europe could benefit from such policy learning – to increase benefits, lower costs and avoid ancillary harms.”

The new IRGC report builds on Kenan’s Rethinking Regulation symposium on US-EU Regulatory Cooperation, held in April 2016, on the issue New Approaches to International Regulatory Cooperation that Wiener co-edited in the journal Law & Contemporary Problems (2015), and on Wiener’s book The Reality of Precaution: Comparing Risk Regulation in the US and Europe (2011).

Along with Jonathan Wiener, who also serves as William R. and Thomas L. Perkins Professor of Law at Duke Law School, Professor of Environmental Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and Professor of Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy, the co-authors of the IRGC report include scholars from the U.S. and Europe:

  • Arthur C. Petersen, University College London, UK
  • John D. Graham, Indiana University, USA
  • Kenneth A. Oye, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • Ortwin Renn, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Germany
  • Christina Benighaus, Dialogik, Germany
  • Marie-Valentine Florin, Managing Director of IRGC, Switzerland, supervised the preparation of the report.
  • Ten peer reviewers provided comments that helped improve the report.

To read the full text, visit the International Risk Governance Council website.

 April 24, 2017
Apr 112017

Despite their opposing political viewpoints, John Hood and Leslie Winner encourage others to look past the heated polarization of today’s politics.

As Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Practitioners-in-Residence from April 3 to 7, the pair demonstrated how to work across ideological lines without compromising one’s own beliefs while meeting with students, faculty, staff and the public. A week-long series of events was organized through Kenan, the Center for Political Leadership, Innovation, and Service (POLIS) and the Policy Bridge.

Throughout their week on campus, Hood and Winner shared insight with the Duke and Durham community. Read more about their visit in this Duke Today story.

Watch Hood and Winner’s public talk, “Finding Common Ground in a Polarized World”:

 April 11, 2017
Apr 042017

Edward Balleisen, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, is the latest guest on the Sanford School of Public Policy’s Ways & Means Podcast, which examines ideas and research for how to improve society.

Balleisen, who helped create Kenan’s Rethinking Regulation program, offered context in the episode around the case of John Rusnak, a currency trader who was convicted of one of the largest bank frauds in American history. Balleisen’s new book, Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff, covers the story of fraud in America and some of the biggest names from modern times.

“Fraud is a perennial problem for any capitalist society,” Balleisen said in this story about his book. “We tend to go through periods of generational amnesia about regulatory structures that we put in place after sufficient recognition of the costs associated with widespread fraud, but there’s always a tradeoff. To enact policies that tend to restrict opportunity for deception means inevitably restricting opportunity for competitive sales practices. In moments when economic stagnation becomes an abiding concern, policy-makers tend to pull back on the regulation of deception.”

Listen to the latest episode of Ways & Means here. For more information about Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff, read this story.

 April 4, 2017
Mar 202017

In a new paper published with the Centre for European Policy Studies, Kenan Institute for Ethics Senior Fellow Andrea Renda reflects on needed changes in governance and regulation methods as the European Commission works toward Sustainable Development Goals in its policy process as part of its approach to implement its 2030 Agenda.

Through his analysis, Renda takes the Commission’s new commitment to better regulation and Sustainable Development Goals at face value, exploring the changes that might be needed to ensure better regulation can be deployed in the most effective way to support the 2030 Agenda.

“At 15, the EU better regulation agenda is currently in its deepest adolescent phase: reaching maturity requires a deeper embedding of its principles and tools in the overall multi-level governance of the Union,” Renda writes. “In order to allow for a fully fledged policy cycle, the future better regulation agenda should, however, be able to rely on a number of additional actions, aimed at delivering on the stated commitment to mainstream SDGs in the EU policy process.”

To read the full paper, visit the Centre for European Policy Studies website.


 March 20, 2017