Tech entrepreneurship is the heart of innovation, but it is everywhere beset by regulations. Uber created ride-sharing; 23&Me democratized access to genetic knowledge; WeWork revolutionized work space leasing. But while many analysts have looked at success stories, no one has conducted a systematic scholarly study of failure: how have direct and indirect regulations negatively impacted the young startups of the next generation of disruptive technology? How do labor, financing and securities regulations alter the strategies and prospects of new firms? Are these obstacles the same in tech, medtech, and in financial tech? We plan to approach these questions by conducting surveys keyed to prior interviews with entrepreneurs, investors, employees, and thought leaders to create systematic datasets for empirical analysis. This novel approach should yield research papers and shorter pieces —op-eds, radio and TV appearances in prominent outlets. We also plan to host a major conference to discuss these results. Our collection of original interviews, surveys, datasets, and analysis could help facilitate a better understanding across academic fields, within the public, and among policymakers about whether and how lighter regulations on startups and innovation can keep America on the cutting edge in this new century.

Richard Epstein, a leading scholar at NYU, the Hoover Institution and the University of Chicago, will be the principal leader and oversee the project. Liya Palagashvili and Seth Oranburg will be the co-investigators. Liya, an Assistant Professor of Economics at SUNY Purchase, was recently a named a Forbes ‘30 under 30’ in Law and Policy for her work on regulations and tech startups. Seth, an Assistant Professor of Corporations at Duquesne University School of Law, has published on issues of startup funding and regulations in top law journals and popular online publications. Taken together, this is an ideal team to lead this specific research.