Leadership and the Independent Regulator seminar in Thailand
September 8, 2010
Can neuroscience really reveal how utility regulators can do their jobs more effectively? Yes, says PURC Director Dr. Mark Jamison.
During his seminar at Thammasat University, he noted that utility regulation is dangerous work. He explained that the regulator’s basic job includes telling stakeholders that they cannot have what they believe the regulatory system should deliver. He introduced the concept of providing a stable investment environment while helping markets adapt to constant changes, and explained that influencing policy direction, while at the same time respecting that policy development, is not the regulator’s job. Successfully performing these discordant tasks requires the regulator stress the system enough for people to confront difficult realities without going beyond a stress level that people can endure. Participants also learned how neuroscience provides key insights into this work, namely that there are productive ranges of stress, that lessons from confronting difficult realities need to be reinforced, that highly specialized stakeholders are the least adaptable, and that the regulator himself can fall victim to the same reality-avoidance problems as others.
Nearly 40 university faculty and staff, regulatory staff, and media attended the workshop.