New Casebook by Morgan Ricks, Ganesh Sitaraman, Shelley Welton, and Lev Menand

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Networks, Platforms, and Utilities: Law and Policy

A new casebook reintroduces tools to address critical issues in sectors such as transportation, energy, finance, and technology.

The law of networks, platforms, and utilities (NPUs) once occupied a core position in legal scholarship and education. Its centrality in American life was widely recognized—from union halls and board rooms to state houses and universities. But in recent decades, what we are calling NPU law—which has gone by “regulated industries,” “public utilities law,” “the law of public service corporations,” and “the law of common carriers”—has all but ceased to exist as an integrated field of study. Significant intellectual and cultural shifts drove this change.

In the closing third of the 20th century, the long-prevailing view that the public interest demanded a substantial measure of public control over society’s infrastructural resources gave way to a bipartisan distrust of public administration and an abiding faith in the self-regulating power of markets. In the process, deregulatory initiatives “transformed” NPU law, and its animating concepts dropped out of the legal and political imagination.

We believe that it is time to revive and refashion this field. To this end, we have just published a new casebook entitled Networks, Platforms, and Utilities: Law and Policy. We hope the book will help scholars, students, and policymakers better understand how critically important sectors of the economy have been governed—and how the tools of NPU law can help address some of the most pressing problems of our time.

Read the full introduction here: Ricks, Morgan et al. “Reviving the Law of Networks, Platforms, and Utilities.” The Regulatory Review. November 21, 2022.

About the authors

Morgan Ricks is the Herman O. Loewenstein Chair in Law at Vanderbilt Law School.
Ganesh Sitaraman is the New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair in Law at Vanderbilt Law School.
Shelley Welton is the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Law and Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.
Lev Menand is an associate professor of law at Columbia Law School.