An independent, charitable organisation dedicated to the study of regulation and deregulation 


Regulatory Policy Institute Annual Westminster Conference 2023 – The Nature of Regulation:  Seeing the Wood from the Trees

We are pleased to announce that bookings are now open for the 2023 Westminster Conference.

Consistent with the RPI’s purpose (promoting the study of regulation for the public benefit), this year’s Westminster Conference will take a form closer to a ‘teach in’ or a challenging away-day than is traditional, particularly in the morning.

Read More »

The changing role of independent economic regulators in decision-making for major infrastructure projects in the UK

The RPI Research Group is currently developing a programme of work to explore the evolution of decision-making processes for major infrastructure projects. It will investigate the role and effectiveness of independent regulators in this process, identifying the conflicts and ambiguities that have emerged from increasing tensions between the traditional role of an independent regulator and the emerging strategic priorities of government. The programme seeks to draw conclusions about the impacts that these tensions have had on accountability, forecasting in the context of uncertainty, adaptation to changes in technology, and incentivisation of investment; asking if a new decision-making paradigm which reconciles the often conflicting priorities of government and independent regulator, while capturing the long-term nature of such investments, is required.

Recent Documents

spider web with drops of water
Insights into Regulation

Policy myopia – open your eyes (plural) and see

In a recent blog, the Insight Team highlighted the dangers of poorly constructed policies in terms of the increased distractions imposed on managers at the expense of a focus on business investment and innovation. In this follow-up, we consider recent financial market turbulence as another example of policy gone wrong. We argue that help in assessing and learning from it might lie in an appreciation of both history and the present – from the work of Adam Smith to recent developments in modern neuroscience, in particular the insights of Iain McGilchrist.

Read More »
close up photography of yellow green red and brown plastic cones on white lined surface
Insights into Regulation

The burdens (plural) of regulation

Policy debates about the burden of regulation have tended to focus on estimates of administrative costs imposed upon firms and have tended to rely on an assumption that simply eliminating some of the regulations (“cutting red tape”) will lead to significant reductions in the costs imposed. Here, the Insights Team take a different perspective, recalling both RPI empirical research on these issues for the UK Cabinet Office nearly 20 years ago and the earlier “Penrose Effect”, named after Professor Edith Penrose. They argue that much more substantive effects arise from poorly considered and conducted changes in regulations in consequence of their increased calls on limited senior management bandwidth available for addressing the challenges involved in investing, innovating and expanding a business.

Read More »
person s left hand holding green leaf plant
Insights into Regulation

The End of Net Zero

The first Insights blog of the new year continues to emphasise a central theme of earlier pieces: the dangers of taking an overly narrow view of policy challenges, whether that be the result of failure to recognise wider, salient features of a broader context, or of taking unduly narrow view of target outcomes in policy responses to the challenges. The same theme is to be found in earlier RPI critiques of ‘pixelation’ in regulatory assessment, grounded in an analogy with perceptions of a digital picture which are drawn to a relatively small bloc of pixels and focus disproportionately on it, to the neglect of all else. The blog contains a striking quotation from Keynes, who was ever unpixelated.

Read More »
Insights into Regulation

Markets versus regulation?  Drop the ‘versus’!

November’s pre-conference Insights blog is concerned with the meaning of the word ‘market’. The term appears often in economic and political discourse, usually accompanied by some other word: there are references to ‘free markets’, or to ‘oligopolistic markets’, or to ‘market failure’. But what is the nature of this thing that is ‘free’, or ‘oligopolistic’, or has ‘failed’, in the latter case usually claimed in the context of some call for a deus ex machina, in the form of a regulatory intervention, to ‘fix’ the problems.

Read More »


If you are interested in finding out more about, sponsoring, or collaborating with us on any aspect of these research programmes, or if you would like to commission bespoke work from the RPI Research Group, please contact us at: