Project on Networks, Platforms, and Utilities

About the Project

The Project on Networks, Platforms, and Utilities (NPUs) seeks to revitalize the study of the law and political economy of NPU industries. NPUs in transportation, communications, energy, and banking were historically governed by a distinctive regulatory regime that was understood to promote commerce, expand access to critical infrastructure, curb monopoly abuses, and ensure widespread prosperity and democratic values.

Today, many pressing challenges in public policy stem from NPUs, including supply chain issues in rail, trucking, and maritime shipping, airline flight cancellations, broadband internet access, electric grid crashes, the emergence of nonbank money, and anticompetitive practices on tech platforms. The Project on Networks, Platforms, and Utilities aims to reinvigorate this field of study in law schools, encourage research on the regulation of NPUs, and develop policy proposals to improve NPU governance.



How to Fix Flying: A New Approach to Regulating the Airline Industry

William McGee and Ganesh Sitaraman provide policymakers with concrete proposals to regulate the airline industry. From geographic access to passenger safety and beyond, the authors offer wide-ranging policy options to improve air travel.

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Rebuilding Banking Law: Banks as Public Utilities

Lev Menand and Morgan Ricks propose a blueprint for a New National Banking system.

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A Ten-Point Plan for Making Banking a Public Utility

It is time for Congress to modernize American banking regulation by building on what worked in the past—a public utility approach.

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An Antimonopoly Approach to Governing AI

A close look at the AI tech stack reveals that critical layers are likely to be or already are monopolistic or oligopolistic. Authors offer a way forward.

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Policy Brief: Antimonopoly Tools for Regulating AI

VPA offers policymakers antimonopoly tools for regulating AI, including industrial policy, public utility regulations, and a public option for AI.

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AI Polling Report

New polling commissioned by VPA reveals that Americans are deeply concerned about the concentration of power in the AI industry and support antimonopoly regulations and building public AI capacity.

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The NPU Network

The Project on NPUs facilitates a community of legal scholars working on NPU topics through our:

  • Annual conference on NPUs held at Vanderbilt Law School.
  • National online workshop for scholars to present and receive feedback on their research
  • Online listserv.

If you are a law professor interested in participating in these activities, please contact us.

Networks, Platforms, and Utilities book

NPU Research and Education

Experts at Vanderbilt and through our network engage cutting-edge NPU research topics.

The Project on NPUs also supports teachers using the new textbook Networks, Platforms, and Utilities: Law and Policy, by Morgan Ricks, Ganesh Sitaraman, Shelley Welton & Lev Menand. If you are a teacher interested in teaching NPU law, please contact us to get a review copy of the textbook or our supplementary teaching materials, including sample syllabus and teachers guide.



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In The News


How States Can Keep Big Tech from Dominating AI

Ganesh Sitaraman and Natalie Foster address how policymakers can address concentration in the AI "tech stack" in an oped for Politico.

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It’s Time for the Government to Regulate AI. Here’s How.

Ganesh Sitaraman and Tejas N. Narechania present a classic argument for regulating AI in an oped for Politico.

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The Government Can 'Get It Right' on AI

Ganesh Sitaraman and Ramsay Eyre make the case for building public capacity on AI in an oped in Politico.

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When air travel featured piano bars and champagne

Ganesh Sitaraman discusses how deregulation has affected air travel since the 1970s in an oped for CNN.

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Why Airlines Don’t Fly to Your City and Other Problems Washington Caused

Ganesh Sitaraman discusses the history of airline deregulation and offers policy solutions in an oped for Politico.

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Airlines Are Just Banks Now

Ganesh Sitaraman argues that frustrating mileage programs are a symptom of airline deregulation in an oped for The Atlantic.

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