Regulatory Studies Program

Regulatory Studies Program

The Regulatory Studies Program works to improve the state of knowledge about regulations and their effects on society. The program identifies market-based solutions that achieve regulatory goals, improving the overall performance of the regulatory process, and acts as a resource to scholars and students who share the goal of improving regulatory policy.

Research

Thomas Stratmann, Jake Russ | Jul 15, 2014
Many states have certificate-of-need regulations, which prohibit hospitals, nursing homes, and ambulatory surgical centers from entering new markets or making changes to the existing capacity of medical facilities without first gaining approval from certificate-of-need regulators.
John D. Graham , James Broughel | Jun 04, 2014
The papers in our series tell an important story about how federal regulators—whether by design or by effect—circumvent both the APA and OIRA oversight. Regulators thus can achieve their ends without adhering to the standard regulatory procedures that represent part of the checks and balances of American government. These procedures have been designed to ensure that technical expertise drives regulatory decisionmaking, as well as to ensure a certain degree of democratic accountability of regulators to the public.
Matthew Mitchell, Christopher Koopman | Jun 04, 2014
Instead, policymakers should focus on more direct, effective, and less problematic solutions to reduce the tangle of regulatory burdens encountered by craft brewers. Eliminating regulatory burdens for all firms would allow brewers to succeed or fail on the basis of their ability to provide the greatest value to consumers at the lowest cost to society.
Sherzod Abdukadirov | May 29, 2014
Over the decades, regulatory reforms have sought to increase agency accountability and improve the quality of regulatory analysis and decision-making, with varying success. In this paper, I draw upon previous reform experiences to identify four criteria for effective reforms.
Aaron L. Nielson | May 15, 2014
Formal rulemaking requires agencies to make policy through a process akin to a trial; it involves cross-examination, burdens of proof, and a bar on ex parte communications. The idea is that formal procedures can help create better substantive policy. This form of rulemaking, however, is almost never used anymore. Instead, informal rulemaking—which is conducted through written comments, with no trial-like procedures—is now essentially the only type of rulemaking used.
John D. Graham , Cory R. Liu | May 13, 2014
This paper illustrates four types of regulatory and quasi-regulatory activities that are operating outside Office of Management and Budget and benefit-cost review: (1) agency issuance of quasi-regulatory documents such as memoranda, policy statements, and guidance documents; (2) agency approval of state regulatory policies under federal laws that authorize selective waiver of federal preemption of state regulation; (3) federal agency issuance of hazard determinations related to technologies, substances, and practices that impact the litigation and regulatory environment; and (4) federal agency decisions to enter into binding agreements with pro-litigants favoring certain regulatory outcomes, where settlements create nondiscretionary agency duties to initiate new rulemakings.

Testimony & Comments

Keith Hall | Apr 07, 2014
This comment addresses Environmental Protection Agency’s request for advice in “developing an ‘analytic blueprint’ of materials on the technical merits and challenges of using economy-wide models to evaluate the social costs, benefits, and economic impacts associated with EPA’s air regulations.” The agency plans to present these materials to a new Science Advisory Board (SAB) panel with “expertise in economy-wide modeling.”…
Jerry Brito | Apr 02, 2014
Online virtual currencies are nothing new. They have existed for decades—from World of Warcraft Gold to Facebook Credits to e-gold. Neither are online payments systems new. PayPal, Visa, and Western Union Pay are all examples. So what is it about Bitcoin that makes it unique? Bitcoin is the world’s first completely decentralized digital currency. Its decentralized nature results in lower transactions costs, making it particularly attractive to small businesses. It could also be an attractive electronic payments option for consumers, including the unbanked and underbanked. Risks include volatility and security, but these are not problems inherent in Bitcoin’s design.
Todd Nesbit | Mar 04, 2014
It is not clear based on the FDA’s analysis whether its proposed rule is in the best interest of society. FDA makes no attempt to estimate the benefits of the regulation, and the analysis of the costs is very likely biased downward due to questionable assumptions and omissions. Further, changes of behavior are only selectively considered—discussing them when logically leading to benefits but dismissing the costs associated with those changes in behavior.
Patrick McLaughlin | Feb 11, 2014
In examining the reforms under consideration, first, I will discuss why regulatory accumulation is a public policy problem: regulatory accumulation creates substantial drag on economic growth by impeding innovation and entrepreneurship.
Holly A. Bell | Dec 13, 2013
Enabling traders and exchanges to continue to work with regulators in a cooperative environment that recognizes the significant market incentives shared by all stakeholders to ensure trading system and market integrity is the best approach as we transition to technology-based markets.
Hester Peirce | Dec 03, 2013
Chairman Schweikert, Ranking Member Clarke, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to be part of today’s hearing on regulatory burdens on small financial institutions. In financial services, as in every other sector, the United States is not a one-size-fits-all nation. Financial institutions of all different sizes coexist, and customers choose among them based upon their needs. A regulatory environment that is increasingly unwelcoming to small financial institutions may curtail customer choice.

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.
James Broughel | Jan 30, 2014
Members of the Science Advisory Board (SAB), thank you for taking the time to hear to my comments this morning. Today’s topic—how to measure the impact of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on low-income and minority citizens in the United States—is both timely and important. At the research center where I work, we have begun to explore the consequences of regulations on vulnerable populations. I appreciate the opportunity to share some of our findings and to contribute to this important discussion.
Richard Williams | Jul 08, 2012
The United States system of ensuring food safety (FS) is more than 100 years old and, until very recently, was the primary system designed to ensure FS. The system assumes that primarily federal regulators have the necessary knowledge to instruct food manufacturers on producing safe food, with both federal and state governments enforcing their respective regulations. While there have been notable successes in the last century — such as mandatory pasteurization for milk and other products, low acid canned food rules, and basic sanitation requirements — much of this progress was achieved in the first half of the 20th century. In the last 30 years, the incidence of foodborne disease has changed very little.
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…

Mercatus Regulatory Studies



Charts

Patrick McLaughlin, Richard Williams | May 27, 2014
The American regulatory system has no working, systematic process for reviewing regulations for obsolescence or poor performance, facilitating the accumulation of a vast stock of regulations.

Experts

Videos

Tom W. Bell | July 17, 2014
Tom W. Bell discusses intellectual property on Reason TV.

Podcasts

Patrick McLaughlin | March 27, 2014
Patrick McLaughlin Discusses Occupational Licensing on the Ed Dean Radio Show

Recent Events

Jerry Ellig, Ted Gayer, Keith Hall, John Leeth, Patrick McLaughlin, Matthew Mitchell, Hester Peirce, Richard Williams, Scott Jacobs, Scott O'Malia | November 13, 2012
Please join the Mercatus Center at George Mason University for a series of discussions grounded in academic research and practical experience on how and why the current regulatory process falls short of its purpose—and what can be done to improve regulation in the future.

Books

Jerry Brito, Andrea Castillo | Jan 23, 2014
Como la primera moneda digital descentralizada del mundo, Bitcoin tiene el potencial de revolucionar los sistemas de pago en línea de una manera que beneficia a los consumidores y las empresas. En lugar de utilizar un intermediario, como PayPal, o entregar información de tarjeta de crédito a un tercer partido para su verificación—ya que los dos incluyen cargos de transacción y otras restricciones— Bitcoin permite que los individuos paguen directamente entre sí para bienes o servicios.
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