Legal & Regulatory Reform

A Pakistani chamber leader reviews capacity building materials at a CIPE event. CIPE's work with National Business Agendas in Pakistan and Afghanistan have helped mobilize the countries' private sector voices for reform.

In many countries, poorly designed, duplicative, or unnecessary laws and regulations create roadblocks for entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their businesses. Such regulations create opportunities for corruption and deter businesses from registering, forcing them into the informal sector where they do not have access to legal protections or the finance they need to grow. Another common problem is lack of enforcement when appropriate laws and regulations exist on the books but are not implemented in practice. The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) believes that the best approach to addressing these issues is to help private sector associations become a voice of business in public policy debate so that entrepreneurs can jointly identify problem areas and work with governments toward concrete solutions.

After identifying reform priorities, a challenging next step for reformers in developing countries can be conducting an effective advocacy campaign. While many CIPE partners are exercising often newfound freedoms to debate, critique, and propose policy alternatives, the idea of participatory decision-making still may be misunderstood or out-of-practice. Yet, it is through such coordinated advocacy efforts that the private sector can become a real advocate for change. Organizations with a successful advocacy plan can not only propose policy alternatives and watch their successful adoption, they also set a path for future reformers.

As CIPE partners work to agree on and solidify their legislative recommendations and priorities, CIPE is able to provide support and information through toolkits and guidebooks, analysis and proposal examples, and lessons learned from experiences around the world.

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Article at a glance

  • Ronald Coase argued that the task of economics, like the study of biology, was to understand the real world, specifically the workings of the economic system: consumers, firms, and institutions.
  • He called for researchers in general, and economists in particular, to use realistic theories and examples, to carefully study real world institutions, and to weigh the costs and benefits and practical consequences of alternative courses of action.

This article is based on a speech delivered on March 27, 2015 in Washington, DC at a conference titled, “The Next Generation of Discovery: Research and Policy Change Inspired by Ronald Coase.” The conference was co-hosted by the Ronald Coase Institute and the Center for International Private Enterprise to pay tribute to Ronald Coase and celebrate his legacy.

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