Advanced Course on Economic Regulation - 2 ECTS

The study of regulation, which means “any attempts to control, order or influence the economic behaviour of market players” (Black, 2002) is gaining increasing momentum in recent years. From an economic perspective, it looks at the benefits and costs of different regulatory approaches and to what extend objectives have been achieved. From a legal perspective, it looks at the effect of existing norms and studies evidence-based recommendations how laws, in combination with other policy tools, should to be designed.
From the outset, it has been an interdisciplinary field of economics and law, while it increasingly takes recourse to other disciplines such as marketing, psychology, and sociology.

Organised by Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

Wed 17 May 2023 until Thu 22 June 2023

Duration Registration deadline: May 3, 2023

In the bioeconomy the field of regulation has gained momentum since phenomena such as climate change, food scarcity, technical (e.g. new plant breeding technology, synthetic biology), and global trade initiates new challenges for regulative measures.

Students will study in-depth economic and legal origins of regulations, the applications of liability law under different jurisdictions, major regulatory approaches used at national (civil and common law countries) and international level (EU, WTO, Bio-Safety). They will also be familiarized with the tools used in the field.

Pertinent questions addressed include:

  • the effect of regulation on investment and international trade from a spatial and temporal perspective;
  • the effectiveness of liability rules to govern externalities;

The course targets at the heart of WASS, as it tries to understand social processes with regard to today’s global challenges with respect to the bio-economy from a regulatory perspective.

Target group

Master students:                

  • MME – Management, Economics, and Consumer Studies
  • MID – International Development Studies
  • MES – Environmental Sciences, students with a specialization in economics
  • New MSc Biobased Sciences for students with a specialization in economics

PhD candidates: from AEP, BEC, BMO, DEC, ENR, LAW, MCB, UEC.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion participants are expected to be able to:

  • familiar with the similarities and differences between common and civil law countries with respect to the use of regulations;
  • familiar with the concepts of liability law and how this is applied in view of ex-post and ex-ante regulation;
  • familiar with the regulations used to govern key bioeconomy technologies (animal and plant breeding technologies, pest control agents, biorefineries, food processing)
  • able to apply liability law for assessing new bioeconomy products entering markets;
  • familiar with the economic tools to assess welfare implications of regulations from an ex post as well as ex ante perspective;
  • able to apply those tools for economic assessments of regulations;
  • able to assess specific regulations from an economic as well as legal perspective and be able to combine both.

Assumed prior knowledge

Participants need to have a solid back-ground in economics and econometrics by e.g. having completed AEP-21306 Econometrics and ECH-21806 Microeconomics or equivalent courses. Please contact the organisers in case of doubt about the required entry level.


May 17 15.00-16.30
May 22 15.00-16.30
May 26 15.00-16.30
June 22 15.00-16.30

Outline of the Course in Hours

Reading assignments: Black and Ogus plus review questions (10 hours).
Reading assignments: Coase, Pigou, Rothbard, Shleifer plus review questions (10 hours).
Reading assignments: example Kolstad et al. and Beckmann et al. plus review questions (10 hours).
Reading assignments: Wesseler and Zilberman; Wesseler et al; plus review question (10 hours).

Preparing and presenting the course paper: 40 hours.

Teaching methods

The course will be a combination of lectures, discussion groups, reading assignments, and a practical. The remaining time will be used by the students to deepen their understanding by completing assignments including simple exercises and group discussion.

During the lectures the students will be familiarized with the relevant literature and the recent scientific debates on the topic. The economic and legal history of regulations will be discussed, the economic models used to assess regulations, and the regulations for key technologies of the bioeconomy. During the practical students will be familiarized with the relevant legal material and apply the economic models (ex-ante assessment) and econometric tools (time series analysis) discussed during class (albeit at an introductory level to familiarize the students with the conceptual model that should allow them to further develop those for their own research) to the regulatory options chosen in assorted legal regimes.


Students need to write an essay (15 to 20 pages) using one approach (Coase, Pigou, or Rothbard) and discuss the advantages and disadvantages using the recent literature on the topic.

Course fee 

WGS PhDs with TSP € 200
a) All other PhD candidates b) Postdocs and staff of the above mentioned Graduate Schools € 400
All others € 600

Cancellation conditions

The participants can cancel their registration free of charge 1 month before the course starts. A cancellation fee of 100% applies if a participant cancels his/her registration less than 1 month prior to the start of the course.

The organisers have the right to cancel the course no later than one month before the planned course start date in the case that the number of registrations does not reach the minimum.

The participants will be notified of any changes at their e-mail addresses.