November 11, 2010
Does overregulation waste human capital?
It does in universities, according Alan Chen at Concurring Opinions. We noted a couple of days ago that Ohio State President Gordon Gee boasted about how evading government construction requirements saved 15% on a $1 billion project, and complained that compliance with government contracting standards costs far more than the amount of money those standards save. Chen points out the enormous amount of time and effort wasted in the accreditation process, which frequently takes a couple of years and untold thousands of manhours to complete.
As someone who's had a couple of small non-law-related businesses, I've realized that it's hard for the average academic to realize just how much of a business's productive capacity is tied up in regulatory compliance. If you think that working with your accrediting bodies is tedious, time-wasting, and expensive, you should try working with, say, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
As universities are forced to retrench, maybe they'll become more sympathetic to claims that overregulation is a big problem.
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