ICLE Issue Brief

Data Regulation and its Effect on Business Models & Corporate Organization in the New Economy


Regulatory and legal approaches that make the collection and use of data more expensive along certain dimensions must, at least marginally, induce some companies to alter their behavior to avoid those costs and, consequently, to eschew potentially more beneficial business arrangements in favor of ones that correlate with lower regulatory risk, lower regulatory cost, and/or greater regulatory predictability. “However, regulation often influences behavior in ways that differ from the initially stated rationale.” By disrupting organizational structures designed to work with data, firms will respond to these regulations not only by altering their data collection and use practices, but also the organizational structures that complement them. Such consequences are often unobserved and unintended. The hypothesis presented here is that the actions of over-eager regulatory agencies will have a host of unintended effects not just on data use directly, but on how firms are organized, how business is done, and on corporate governance more broadly. The goal of this project is to discover and elucidate as much of this unseen ground as possible, and to determine the extent to which particular information regulation rules affect these outcomes.