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
Feb 102017

Kenan Institute for Ethics Senior Fellow Andrea Renda is featured in a Bloomberg article exploring President Trump’s “New Math on Old Regulations.”

Renda, who also serves as Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies, wrote a study on cost-benefit analysis for the European Commission in 2013. In his assessment of President Trump’s Executive Order to require Congress to phase out two federal regulations for every new one, Renda noted that “it’s impossible to affix a dollar amount to any total estimate of regulatory impact.”

Probably, it’s on the hidden part of the envelope,” he says. “It’s farther than the back of the envelope.”

Will there be an easy way for the Trump Administration to evaluate the benefits of decreased regulation? Read the Bloomberg article for more information.

 February 10, 2017
Feb 032017

sarah-kerman-colorizedIn a new post on the Bass Connections website, junior Sarah Kerman reflects on her time working with a group that investigated efforts of government agencies to evaluate impacts of regulatory programs. The 2015-2016 project, titled “Reviewing Retrospective Regulatory Review,” included Kenan faculty leads Jonathan Wiener and Lori Bennear, co-directors of the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Rethinking Regulation program.

In her post, Kerman noted the value of attending Kenan’s 2016 Rethinking Regulation Symposium, where she presented initial findings from the group as part of the Regulatory Cooperation and Administrative Oversight Panel:

“Participating in the panel, responding to questions about our project and hearing about the work of other researchers focusing on regulatory issues revealed lots of possible venues for further research and really helped me get a better sense of how our team’s project could fit into the field of existing research on ex-post regulatory review.”

The Silver Family Kenan Institute Ethics Fund provided additional support for the project.

For more insight and to learn about Kerman’s work, visit the Bass Connections website.

 February 3, 2017
Jan 272017

FA_Ancell_AaronAaron Ancell, Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy, coauthored a paper that was published this month in Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.

The paper, “How to Allow Conscientious Objections in Medicine While Protecting Patient Rights,” challenges those who propose an outright ban on conscientious objections in medicine, arguing that many conscientious objections must be permitted simply because they fall within the range of freedom doctors have to define the scope of their own practices. The latter half of the paper proposes a framework for permitting certain conscientious objections while mitigating the unjust burdens that such objections often impose on patients.

Read more on the Interdisciplinary Studies website.

 January 27, 2017
Jan 192017

When Edward J. Balleisen launched the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Rethinking Regulation program in 2010, he was already deep into research on a history of business fraud in the United States.  Through a series of interdisciplinary conversations, research collaborations, and engagements with journalists and policy-makers made possible by Rethinking Regulation, he developed new questions and perspectives on that research.

ed balleisen-fraud book-coverThen, in early 2014, KIE sponsored a day-long manuscript workshop for Balleisen, which brought together scholars from across the Triangle and from disciplines ranging from history, political science, sociology, and economics to philosophy, neuroscience, and law, as well as North Carolina’s Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection. Feedback from the workshop was crucial as Balleisen crafted the final version of his newly published book, which pieces together a modern history of fraud, its far-reaching impacts on America, and the regulatory policies put in place to contain it.

In “Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff,” Balleisen, an associate professor of history and public policy and vice provost for Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke, weaves stories of dishonesty and efforts to limit deceptive marketing going back to the early 19th century. He explores challenges of social trusts in a modern, capitalist economy and investigates what makes consumers and investors vulnerable to fraud.

“Fraud is a perennial problem for any capitalist society,” Balleisen said. “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.”

Finding an appropriate middle ground, Balleisen noted, can be difficult in a country with a longstanding history of facilitating and promoting innovation. The freedom provided to entrepreneurial firms that offer new products, services, and ways of doing business inevitably generates cases of financial and consumer fraud, he said.

“It’s also sometimes hard for people to agree about what is fraudulent in the first place,” Balleisen said, especially in the midst of rapid changes in the business environment.

For more information about Balleisen’s book, “Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff,” visit its page on the Princeton University Press website.

 January 19, 2017
Jan 162017

From February 6th to the 9th, Jamie Kalven will be a visiting Kenan Practitioner-in-Residence with the Cover-Ups project at KIE. Mr. Kalven is an investigative journalist who has done groundbreaking reporting on police abuse and corruption in Chicago, including exposing the truth about the police killing of Laquan McDonald. More recently he has written the four-part series for the Intercept, “House of Cards: How the Chicago Police Department Covered Up for a Gang of Criminal Cops” and worked with the Exoneration Project to overturn wrongful convictions of citizens associated with the cover-up. Two individuals have been released so far, which one member of the Exoneration Project remarks is the “just tip of the iceberg.”

Mr. Kaven is also the founder and executive director of the Invisible Institute, which has the mission to “whose mission is to enhance the capacity of citizens to hold public institutions accountable.” His work extends beyond issues of police abuses, and has focused on Chicago’s inner city housing projects. He has created a program of “grass roots public works” to provide alternatives for ex-offenders and gang members and has worked to establish new human rights monitoring strategies.

During his week-long visit, Mr. Kalven will engage students, faculty, and the community about his work. He will meet with a number of undergraduate and gradate groups, as well as with a faculty working group on cover-ups. He will participate both in a “Conversation in Human Rights” panel with investigative journalist for the News and Observer Mandy Locke on Tuesday, February 7th at 4:00 pm at Duke Law School, room 3037 and in a community workshop.

He will give a public talk, “Police Abuse and Accountability: The Struggle for Police Reform in Chicago,” on Wednesday February 8th, in Gross Hall 103 (West Campus), beginning at 6:30 pm.

 January 16, 2017