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

John Morrall, James Broughel | Apr 10, 2014
Regulatory impact analysis (RIA) is a tool regulators use to help guide them through the decision-making process when promulgating regulations. The goals of an RIA are simple and straightforward: to assess whether a problem exists that is systemic in nature and therefore requires intervention, to define the desired outcome sought through intervention, to describe the various alternatives that might address the problem and bring about the desired outcome, and to compare the benefits and costs of each alternative.
Hester Peirce, Jerry Ellig | Mar 31, 2014
SEC Regulatory Analysis: “A Long Way to Go and a Short Time to Get There”…
| Mar 20, 2014
The Mercatus Center’s Regulatory Cost Calculator is a practical tool designed to help businesses and their trade associations assess prospective costs of individual proposed regulations before they become final regulations. Armed with this information, stakeholders can provide accurate and credible estimates of the costs of proposed regulations to regulators, legislators and their staffs, the media, and the public policy community.
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.
Adam Ozimek | Mar 12, 2014
Prediction markets are important information-aggregation tools for researchers, businesses, individuals, and governments. This paper provides an overview of why prediction markets matter, how they are regulated, and how the regulation can be improved. The value of prediction markets is illustrated with discussions of their forecasting ability and the characteristics these markets possess which give them advantages over other means of forecasting and information aggregation. The past, current, and future regulatory environment is surveyed.
Adam C. Smith, Todd Zywicki | Mar 11, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is one of the most powerful and least accountable regulatory agencies in American history. Immune from budgetary oversight by Congress and headed by a single director whom the president cannot remove except under special circumstances, the agency wields unconstrained, vaguely defined powers to regulate virtually every consumer and small business credit product in America (Zywicki 2013a). In part, the CFPB has justified its ongoing intervention into financial credit markets based on a prior belief in the inability of consumers to competently weigh their decisions. This belief is founded on research conducted in the area of behavioral economics, which shows that people are prone to a variety of errors in their decision-making.

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

Jerry Ellig, James Broughel | Mar 17, 2014
To see agencies make better decisions, Congress could explicitly mandate via legislation that agencies identify the problem and outcome a regulation is designed to address. Ideally, agencies should be required to seek public comment on their analysis of the problem before they decide what solution to propose. Only when agencies act like the experts we expect them to be can the public trust them to create regulations that advance the public good.

Experts

Videos

Andrea Castillo | August 28, 2013
Andrea Castillo discusses Bitcoin on Capital Insider.

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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