The Regulation of Inchoate Technologies

42 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2010

See all articles by Daniel J. Gervais

Daniel J. Gervais

Vanderbilt University - Law School


In the Essay, I explain why and how certain technologies defeat regulatory interventions. I then examine a number of major regulatory pitfalls and how they apply to the inchoate technologies, namely: the “law” of unintended consequences, the politicizing of regulatory interventions, costs, legacy regulation, asymmetric regulation and the role that the notion of efficiency is given in justifying regulatory impulses. I then consider whether the regulation of inchoate technologies should take account of, and may in fact be undesirable because, some technologies (or the use thereof) tend to self-regulate. Finally, I suggest lessons that can be drawn from this analysis and present the structure of a workable model to regulate inchoate technologies.

Keywords: Regulation, technology, precautionary principle, unintended consequenses

Suggested Citation

Gervais, Daniel J., The Regulation of Inchoate Technologies. Houston Law Review, Vol. 47, No. 3, Fall 2010; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 10-44. Available at SSRN:

Daniel J. Gervais (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615 322 2615 (Phone)

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