BSEO 2509: Business and Politics

BSEO 2509 – Business and Politics – 1.5 credits

Barry M. Mitnick (mitnick@pitt.edu)

This course examines the rationale for government regulation, compares the public to the private sector, considers the methods and patterns of business influence on government, describes modern approaches to regulatory design (e.g., incentives vs. directives, design vs. performance standards, choice architecture, disclosure, permit markets, and other variants), analyzes policymaking processes on issues affecting business, reviews the performance of regulatory agencies, and discusses the characteristic behaviors of groups and trade associations in politics, including the means of lobbying usually found most effective by these groups. The course begins with a case study that asks, what caused the financial crisis that some call “The Great Recession,” and then focuses on the roles that regulators/government officials played in the development and management of the crisis. The crisis had multiple, often interacting causes, and involved both public sector and private sector failures. Besides examining the bases and management of the crisis, we will ask what regulatory and institutional reforms, and what critical decisions, might have ameliorated the crisis, and might prevent a future crisis. In examining techniques of lobbying, the course will focus on the US setting and identify both effective and ineffective methods of lobbying. In addition, the course will consider issues and management methods employed in public affairs work and lobbying. By the end of the course, students should have obtained a good working knowledge of the U.S. regulatory system, the major instruments of regulation, and the typical interactive patterns of regulators and regulated parties.