Columbia Public Law & Legal Theory Working Papers

Document Type



Economists and economically-trained lawyers tend to speak about regulation from a perspective organized around the basic norm of optimization. By contrast, an important managerial literature espouses a perspective organized around the basic norm of reliability. The perspectives are not logically inconsistent, but the economist’s view sometimes leads in practice to a preoccupation with decisional simplicity and cost minimization at the expense of complex judgment and learning. Drawing on a literature often ignored by economists and lawyers, I elaborate the contrast between the optimization and reliability perspectives. I then show how it illuminates current discussions of the reform of bank regulation.

Date of Authorship for this Version

Winter 12-24-2009