Experts argue that competition policy and the regulatory apparatus of the country need to rise to the challenges of the new digital economy
IIM Bangalore hosted the fifth edition of the International Conference on Law and Economics on 28th & 29th December, 2019. The conference had panel discussions and presentations around themes of relevance to ‘law and economics’, including Competition Law and Policy; Research Design and Method Choices for Law and Economics; Law, Economics and Finance; Gender and Crime; and a dedicated panel discussion on ‘Causes and Solution of Road Crashes in India: The Role of Industry and Institutions’.
The conference was hosted by IIM Bangalore under the aegis of the Indian Association of Law and Economics (IALE), which comprises some of the leading educational institutions of India, including other IIMs, law schools, IITs, and institutes dedicated to study of Economics. The proceedings involved participants and presenters drawn from all across India and some of them from outside the country too.
Key speakers & themes
IIMB Director Professor G. Raghuram, the Conference President for 2019, addressed the participants in the inaugural and highlighted the importance of research and education in law and economics enriching the practice of public policy. He said, “In the Indian context, there is significant need to focus on these interdependencies and we need frameworks for economic analysis of laws, the growing regulatory ecosystem, and remedies including ’alternate’ mechanisms, which can result in better instruments, institutions and implementation.”
Each of the thematic panels had presentations from experienced practitioners, academicians and research scholars. In addition to the doctoral research students and young scholars, there were also professors, economists, lawyers, and a doctor and bureaucrat who contributed in the deliberations, which involved 27 original submissions and presentations as part of the conference.
The conference deliberations pointed to the fact that competition policy and the regulatory apparatus of the country need to rise to the challenges of the new digital economy, which is currently driven by unhindered access to private and sensitive data.
Labour market implications of the rapidly emerging ‘gig’ economy and the resulting ‘casualization of labour’ was also discussed, with particular emphasis on impact on wages and input costs.
With a particular focus on safety of citizens and the reasons for road crashes in India, the conference deliberated on the institutional and industry obligations. While there are many community and societal interventions required to correct behavioural patterns, the panellists suggested certain universal and uniform measures, even perhaps suitably enforced by the law, to immediately counter the rising number of mishaps on Indian roads.
Given the current discussion in the country on enhancing punishment for the offence of rape and crimes against women and children, the panel on ‘Gender and Crime’ discussed the economic and efficiency principles involved in designing laws to achieve the desired levels of deterrence.
The concern of non-performing assets (NPAs) was the dominant theme of presentations made as part of the panel on ‘Law, Economics and Finance’. There were many institutional and regulatory measures proposed to redress the mounting challenge of NPAs, and the proposals were all suitably justified with economic models and arguments.
In furthering the growth of the discipline of ‘law and economics’, the conference had two dedicated sessions on the changing methodological foundations of law and economics, and revisiting the philosophical roots of the subject.
The conference concluded with the General Body Meeting of the IALE, which reiterated the commitment of the participating institutions to promote inter-disciplinary and comparative policy oriented research in law and economics.