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Guest Lecture: Dr Bryce WilkinsonImproving the Quality of Government Regulation

Page updated 20 Sep 2007

Abstract and lecture notes from Dr Bryce Wilkinson's Guest Lecture presented at the Treasury on 30 July 2002.

Dr Bryce Wilkinson

Capital Economics Limited


New Zealand owes its high world ranking for economic freedom in part to economic deregulation between 1984 and 1992. At the same time new taxes and intrusive social and environmental regulations added to regulatory burdens.

Concerns about the low quality of much regulation are widespread. Legal initiatives to improve the quality of new regulation are embodied in the Legislative Advisory Committee's Guidelines. Economic initiatives are embodied in the Regulatory Impact Statement requirement.

In the papers below, the speaker proposes a scheme for testing new and existing regulations based on a law and economics approach. Tests of necessity for a taking for an essential public purpose aim to preserve the domain for liberty and the rule of law. Where a taking passes these tests, the principle of full compensation would apply - ideally funded by those who desire the taking.

The Public Works Act 1981 provides a narrower application of this approach. This address argues that it can be usefully generalised, despite the obvious limits arising from information and transaction costs.

Constraining Government Regulation, December 2002, can be downloaded from Improving the Quality of Regulation, July 2002, can be downloaded from [Link inactive.] 

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