The student participants in the 2016 Hoover IP2 Summer Teaching Institute on the Politics and Economics of Regulation were overwhelming positive in their responses to a survey at the program’s conclusion. Each of the respondents said they were satisfied with the two-week program, although roughly one-quarter felt that the two weeks of instruction was too short. One participant lauded the program, “The general atmosphere was very conducive to enhanced learning. I loved it.” Nearly 90 percent responded that the program was relevant to their career.
Virtually all the students had law degrees, were attending law school, or were attending or had completed a graduate program in public policy. Ten of the twenty participants were judicial interns, US congressional staff, or legislative staff at a US or foreign government agency.
The program aims to equip students with the tools of economics, statistics, and political science so that, with healthy skepticism, they can evaluate the soundness of government policy and regulation proposals. They are taught that evidence and reason should dominate their thinking on these issues—they should engage in evidence-based policy making. One student noted his gratitude for this unique theme of the program, “I appreciated the opportunity to engage with a set of individuals who use the same methodological tools as I do, but tend to reach very different conclusions. This laid bare to me that evidence-based policy-making can never be divorced from normative claims.”
On the program’s final day, the students gave team presentations addressing contentious issues about public policy and regulation. The students showcased what they learned during the program by undertaking an evidence-based approach to their problem. Using data and theory, the students asked a question, presented evidence, and posed solutions. Although working under a severe time constraint, 95 percent of the students felt the exercise was worthwhile. The students found this exercise “challenging,” “interesting and inspiring,” and “one of the best parts” of the program.
Every respondent felt the program met their expectations and would recommend it to students and young professionals, in addition to being an all-around enriching experience. As one student put it, “The experiences in this program are going to be milestones of my life.”
Detailed survey results may be found at http://hooverip2.org/wp-content/uploads/Summary-2016-Summer-Institute.pdf.
The Summer Teaching Institute is one offering from the Hoover Institution Working Group on Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Prosperity. The teaching institute, major conferences held semiannually at Hoover, symposiums at the Hoover office in Washington, DC, a working paper series, and financial support for academic research are the major components of the program, which seeks an interdisciplinary approach to studying intellectual property rights issues.