The Quality and Use of Regulatory Analysis in 2008

The Quality and Use of Regulatory Analysis in 2008

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This article assesses the quality and apparent use of regulatory analysis for economically significant regulations proposed by federal agencies in 2008. A nine-member research team used a six-point (0–5) scale to evaluate regulatory analyses according to criteria drawn from Executive Order 12866 and Office of Management and Budget Circular A-4. Principal findings include: (1) the average quality of regulatory analysis, though not high, is somewhat better than previous regulatory scorecards have shown; (2) quality varies widely; (3) biggest strengths are accessibility and clarity; (4) biggest weaknesses are analysis of the systemic problem and retrospective analysis; (5) budget or “transfer” regulations usually receive low-quality analysis; (6) a minority of the regulations contain evidence that the agency used the analysis in significant decisions; (7) quality of analysis is positively correlated with the apparent use of the analysis in regulatory decisions; and (8) greater diffusion of best practices could significantly improve the overall quality of regulatory analysis.

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