The role of private actors in preventing work-related risks: a law and economics perspective

The Centre for Business Law and Practice is pleased to welcome Niels J. Philipsen, Professor of Shifts in Private and Public Regulation at Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.

This paper considers the regulation of work-related risks such as industrial accidents and occupational diseases, and more specifically the role of employers and employees in the regulation and prevention of such risks.

First, a law and economics perspective will be provided on the delegation of regulatory design and enforcement tasks to private actors. Thereby it will be assessed (for the specific case of work-related risks) what are the theoretical advantages and disadvantages of private regulation and enforcement compared to public regulation and enforcement, taking efficiency as a main goal.

Efficiency in that respect relates to finding an optimal way of dealing with market failures, such as externalities in the form of work-related accidents and diseases. Secondly, confronting theory with practice, examples of private regulation concerning work-related risks will be provided for the Netherlands, which largely relies on collective labour agreements and private enforcement mechanisms, and Great Britain, where employer liability (insurance) plays an important role.

The role of liability insurers as an important driver of actions taken by employers and employees will be highlighted, as well as the importance of having a smart mix of public and private regulatory instruments.

About the Speaker

Professor Niels J. Philipsen is Professor of Shifts in Private and Public Regulation at Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam. His expertise lies in the regulation of professions, law and economics, the economic analysis of accident law, microeconomics and competition law and policy.

After graduating in economics (specialisations: microeconomics, antitrust policy) Niels Philipsen started a Ph.D. research in the field of Law and Economics at the Maastricht Institute for Transnational Legal Research (METRO). He obtained his Ph.D. degree in December 2003 on the topic "Regulation of and by pharmacists in the Netherlands and Belgium: An economic approach".

In 2003 Niels Philipsen worked at the European Commission (DG Competition) in Brussels. In Summer 2005 he was a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (USA), and in Spring 2007 he was a “European Visiting Professor” at Peking University in Beijing (China).

From 2004 to 2006 he was a postdoctoral researcher in the NWO-programme "Shifts in Governance". Since 2007 he has been working as a Senior Researcher in various research projects (including contract research for, inter alia, various ministries, European Commission, OECD, insurers, and professional organizations). He teaches on Law and Economics, competition law and European integration.

In 2013 he became Vice-Director of METRO, the Maastricht European Institute for Transnational Legal Research, located at the Faculty of Law.

On 1 July 2016, Niels Philipsen was appointed Professor of 'Shifts in Private and Public Regulation' (0.2FTE) at the Erasmus School of Law in Rotterdam.

On 16 November 2016, he was equally appointed Adjunct Professor of the School of Law and Economics at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing.

Location details

Seminar Room 1.33
Maurice Keyworth Building
University of Leeds

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