Connecting Race and Regulation | Regulatory Review


A new podcast series examines how regulation has reinforced racism and how it could also combat it.

The Penn Program on Regulation (PPR) has launched a series of podcasts, Race and rulesemphasizing society’s responsibility to ensure equal justice, dignity and respect for all.

In this series, leading scholars show how government regulations in a wide range of policy areas have contributed to racial inequality and how regulatory change could help build a more just society.

“Well-designed, regulations can in principle serve as a tool in the fight against racism,” said Cary Coglianese, director of PPR and podcast host.

“Through this podcast series, we aim to illuminate the important connections between race and regulation in order to improve public understanding of these vital issues and help society on the path to racial justice,” a- he declared.

The first three podcast episodes, which were made available to the public last week, illustrate the range of regulatory areas covered by the entire series.

The first episode features Dorothy Roberts, a leading scholar of law and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. The episode focuses on Roberts’ latest book, Torn up, which examines racism in the US child welfare system – a system that Roberts says unfairly regulates families. Roberts shows how this system of family regulation disproportionately and negatively affects people of color, and she argues that it should be dismantled and replaced with a system that better protects children.

“A central theme in any discussion of regulation centers on the power of the state to intervene in private affairs,” Coglianese noted. “Although often these private matters are framed in terms of commercial transactions, few areas of law affect people’s lives as personally as the rules affecting families and the power of the administrative state to intervene in family life,” he added.

The second episode of Race and rules The podcast focuses on research by Georgetown University law professor Chris Brummer showing that black leaders have historically been excluded from the highest leadership positions in the US financial regulatory system. Brummer argues that the absence of black leaders in financial regulatory agencies has significantly limited the representation of black community interests in financial policy decisions and reinforced the racial wealth gap in the United States.

In the third episode, Jessica Trounstine, a political scientist at the University of California-Merced, shares the results of her research on redlining and land use regulation. She shows how racial segregation in American cities is not an accident but stems from land use policies aimed at protecting the land values ​​of white homeowners. Drawing inspiration from his award-winning book, Segregation by design, Trounstine shows that segregation leads to serious inequalities in access to quality schools and public facilities. But Trounstin argues that just as segregation results from political choices, desegregation can also be a deliberate choice, with the right regulatory decisions.

Additional podcast episodes will be released every two weeks throughout the summer. These episodes feature: Guy-Uriel Charles of Harvard University on suffrage; Anita L. Allen of the University of Pennsylvania on data privacy; Jill A. Fisher of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill on the regulation of pharmaceutical clinical trials; Ming Hsu Chen of the University of California at Hastings on immigration and political participation; Olatunde C. Johnson of Columbia University on immunization equity; Brian D. Feinstein of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on the diversity of regional Federal Reserve bank boards; and Daniel E. Ho of Stanford University on anti-discrimination and the administrative state.

“The Race and rules podcast seeks to contribute to an essential and ongoing inquiry into how the law can build a more equitable society,” Coglianese observed.

The podcast is based on talks delivered as part of a 2021-2022 talk series organized by PPR, and full versions of each talk are available on PPR’s YouTube channel. The podcast also follows the online symposia organized annually by Regulatory Review who examine systemic racism in administrative and regulatory law in the United States.

The series was produced by Patty McMahon and features music by Philadelphia-based artist Joy Ike. Listeners can subscribe to Race and rules podcast series via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and other major streaming services.


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