Regulating knowledge monopolies

I have a post on VoxEU (backed up by a paper) on the regulation of knowledge monopolies in general and the IPCC in particular.

Other countries have carefully prepared their positions for next week’s meeting in Busan. The Netherlands will call for substantial reform of the IPCC along the lines of the IAC and PBL reports. The United Kingdom will not call for Pachauri’s resignation as cordial relationships with India are deemed more important than effective leadership of the IPCC. I was met with a stunned silence when I recently asked two senior civil servants about the Busan position of Ireland, the Country That Leads The World in the Fight Against Climate Change.

We are used to thinking about market structures for goods and services, and there is a considerable body of theoretical and empirical work on how to keep market power in check. Policy advice is a service too, and relying on a single source of knowledge can have detrimental effects. The IPCC is one example, but there are examples closer to home too.

Meanwhile, Brian Lenihan wishes there was a single source of advice, and again. Cosy groupthink was one of the things that got the Irish economy into the current mess.