Jerry Ellig

Jerry Ellig is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a former assistant professor of economics at George Mason University. He specializes in the federal regulatory process, economic regulation, and telecommunications regulation.

Ellig has published numerous articles on government regulation and business management in both scholarly and popular periodicals, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Barron’s, the Washington Post, Regulation & Governance, Risk Analysis, Administrative Law Review, Journal of Regulatory Economics, and the New York University Journal of International Law and Politics. His most recent book, coauthored with his Mercatus colleagues Maurice McTigue and Henry Wray, is Government Performance and Results: An Evaluation of GPRA’s First Decade.

Previously, Ellig was deputy director and acting director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). He also served as senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress.

Ellig received his MA and PhD in economics from George Mason University and his BA in economics from Xavier University.

Published Research

Jerry Ellig | Jul 23, 2013
For nearly four decades, presidential administrations have required executive branch regulatory agencies to identify the problem they are trying to address and assess its significance, examine a wide range of alternative solutions, estimate the costs and benefits of the alternatives, and regulate only when the benefits justify the costs. In 1993, President Clinton’s Executive Order 12866 laid out the fundamental requirements that have governed regulatory analysis and review ever since. In January 2011, President Obama’s Executive Order 13563 reaffirmed the principles and processes articulated in the Clinton executive order:…
Patrick McLaughlin, Jerry Ellig, John Morrall | Jun 01, 2013
This paper compares the quality and use of regulatory analysis accompanying economically significant regulations proposed by US executive branch agencies in 2008, 2009, and 2010. We find that the quality of regulatory analysis is generally low, but varies widely.
Jerry Ellig, Alan E. Wiseman | Apr 18, 2013
In the wake of Granholm v. Heald, numerous states passed new laws to regulate interstate direct shipment of alcohol that would seem to contradict the spirit, if not the explicit content, of the Commerce Clause. We build on existing scholarship analyzing the empirical impacts of direct shipment barriers to identify how these new laws are likely to influence local market conditions. Drawing on new data that measure posted winery prices and aggregate production levels in 2002 and 2004, we demonstrate how many of these new laws would be expected to effectively diminish, if not altogether remove, the benefits that would normally accrue to consumers from legalized interstate direct shipment of wine. Although empirical analysis of price effects currently plays a very limited role in dormant Commerce Clause cases, our analysis suggests how price data can be used to ascertain whether a state restriction constitutes discrimination against out-of-state economic interests.
Jerry Ellig, Patrick McLaughlin | Dec 01, 2011
Using data from the Mercatus Center’s Regulatory Report Card project and statistics on Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review time from reginfo.gov, we examine whether the quality and use of regulatory analysis vary consistently with OIRA actions.

Working Papers

Jerry Ellig, Richard Williams | Aug 13, 2014
The number of regulations and their economic impact continue to grow. Yet the quality and use of economic analysis to inform regulatory decisions falls far short of the standards enunciated in executive orders governing regulatory analysis and review.
Hester Peirce, Jerry Ellig | Mar 31, 2014
SEC Regulatory Analysis: “A Long Way to Go and a Short Time to Get There”…
Patrick McLaughlin, Jerry Ellig, Dima Yazji Shamoun | Mar 18, 2014
As the quantity and scope of regulations in Florida grow, so does the degree to which they affect the economy. In these circumstances, a little reform to the process of creating regulations can go a long way toward crafting an environment that fosters competitiveness and economic efficiency.
Jerry Ellig, Rosemarie Fike | Jul 30, 2013
Numerous regulatory reform proposals would require federal agencies to conduct more thorough analysis of proposed regulations or expand the resources and influence of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which currently reviews executive branch regulations. We employ data on variation in current administrative procedures to assess the likely effects of proposed regulatory process reforms on the quality and use of regulatory impact analysis (RIA). Many specific types of activity by agencies and OIRA are correlated with higher quality analysis and greater use of analysis in decisions, and the effects are relatively large. Our results suggest that greater use of Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemakings for major regulations, formal hearings for important rules, articulation of retrospective review plans at the time regulations are issued, and expansion of OIRA’s resources and role may improve the quality and use of RIAs.

Charts

Policy Briefs

Jerry Ellig | Oct 18, 2013
Historically, the FCC’s Universal Service Fund has paid for two programs that subsidize telephone service for low-income households. Lifeline, the larger program, pays phone companies to reduce monthly subscription fees for low-income households by an average of $9.25 per month, with some states providing additional funding. Link Up subsidizes one-time connection charges by up to $30.2 In 2012, the FCC voted to phase out Link Up.
Jerry Ellig, James Broughel | Jul 16, 2013
For more than three decades, presidents have instructed executive branch agencies to use the results of Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIAs) when deciding whether and how to regulate. Scores from the Mercatus Center’s Regulatory Report Card—an in-depth evaluation of the quality and use of regulatory analysis conducted by executive branch agencies— show that agencies often fail to explain how RIAs affected their decisions. For this reason, regulatory reform should require agencies to conduct analysis before making decisions and explain how the analysis affected the decisions.
Jerry Ellig | Aug 28, 2012
The midnight regulation phenomenon is not new or limited to one political party. New research suggests that midnight regulations proposed during the second half of a presidential election year are more likely to have lower-quality regulatory analysis and less likely to use the results of analysis to inform decisions. Thus, these regulations may be particularly costly or ineffective.
Jerry Ellig, James Broughel | Jun 22, 2012
This Mercatus on Policy explores the importance of baselines in assessing the benefits and costs of federal regulations.

Testimony & Comments

Jerry Ellig | Jun 26, 2013
Unfortunately, agencies’ Regulatory Impact Analyses are not nearly as informative as they ought to be, and there is often scant evidence that agencies utilized the analysis in decision making. These problems have persisted through multiple administrations of both political parties. The problem is institutional, not partisan or personal. Further improvement in the quality and use of Regulatory Impact Analysis will likely occur only as a result of legislative reform of the regulatory process. To achieve improvement, all agencies should be required to conduct thorough and objective Regulatory Impact Analysis for major regulations and to explain how the results of the analysis informed their decisions.
Jerry Brito, Jerry Ellig | Apr 15, 2011
Jerry Brito and Jerry Ellig submitted a Public Interest Comment on the Connect America Fund.
Jerry Ellig | Mar 29, 2011
Jerry Ellig testified before the House Judiciary Committee on improving pre-proposal regulatory analysis.
Jerry Ellig | Feb 16, 2011
Jerry Ellig testified before the the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on regulatory analysis and the economic impact of regulations.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Speeches & Presentations

Jerry Ellig | Mar 20, 2014
Jerry Ellig's presents arguments for improved regulatory impact analysis at the College of Charleston.
Jerry Ellig | Jan 14, 2010
Jerry Ellig participated in panel discussion before Texas policy makers in Austin, Texas at the Texas Public Policy Foundation's Policy Orientation on the future of the Texas Public Utility…
Jerry Ellig | Nov 05, 2009
Jerry Ellig was invited to give a lecture at Pepperdine University about the future of regulations in the federal government.
Jerry Ellig | May 28, 2009
Jerry Ellig presents before the Department of Energy, Office of Health, Safety and Security in the Visiting Speakers Program about regulation in high reliability organizations, such as…

Expert Commentary

Sep 08, 2014

A proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to require federal agencies to assess the effects of regulations on the poor continues to generate considerable debate — a debate, which is long overdue.
Mar 21, 2014

For the second time in as many Congresses, the House of Representatives passed the Regulatory Accountability Act, the first-ever major overhaul of the Administrative Procedure Act. The Senate, however, has yet to give the bill so much as a hearing.
Mar 17, 2014

With Congress at an impasse that’s likely to continue past the midterm elections, the administration is gearing up its regulatory activity so it can finish important initiatives before the end of President Obama’s term. Although the current administration has three years left to work on regulations, if the past is any guide, don’t expect a lot of them to be very well thought out.
Feb 28, 2014

In the current economic environment, with sluggish economic growth, disappointing unemployment rates, and growing concern about government spending and debt, it is increasingly important for Congress to ensure that additional regulations solve real problems at the lowest possible cost. Regulation needs to be smarter, not faster.

Contact

Jerry Ellig

Books

Jerry Ellig, Maurice P. McTigue, Henry Wray | Sep 08, 2011
Summarizing the lessons learned from 10 years of research that evaluated the performance reports produced by federal agencies, the book assesses how the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) has affected the quality of agency performance reporting.

Podcasts

Jerry Ellig | September 17, 2013
The scope and number of regulations continues to grow, but proof that problems are being solved remains elusive. Several reform efforts are focusing on ways to improve economic analysis so that agencies can make better decisions about when and how to use regulation for problem-solving. New research indicates several reforms that could have a positive impact.
' '