Regulatory Report Card
“We’ve got to do a better cost-benefit analysis on the impact of regulations.…George Mason’s Mercatus Center has done a lot of good work on this issue.”
–Senator Mark Warner
Rules and regulations are one of the few ways, besides taxes, in which the federal government uses private-sector resources to accomplish public goals. If regulations are excessive or ineffective, they can curtail economic growth, competitiveness, and innovation or fail to solve the intended social problem. For this reason, each president for the past 30 years has required federal agencies to conduct regulatory impact analyses (RIAs) on proposed economically significant regulations, regulations that would have an effect of $100 million or more on the economy. However, the quality of these RIAs varies widely.
Because regulation has a profound effect on the U.S. economy, citizens of the United States need high-quality RIAs and need agencies to use those RIAs when they make decisions. That’s why regulatory scholars at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University created the Regulatory Report Card. A tool that evaluates the RIAs of the proposed economically significant rulemakings published by federal agencies since January 2008*, the Regulatory Report Card identifies key issues and best practices in the regulatory process and highlights issues with specific regulations.
For more information, visit our FAQ.
For an in-depth explanation for each criterion used, watch our twelve-part video training series.
How reliable are the Report Card evaluations? Click here to see a statistical evaluation of the consistency of ratings across different raters.
Note: We evaluate the quality of regulatory analysis and its use in decisions, but we do not evaluate whether the proposed rule is economically efficient, fair, or otherwise good public policy. We assess whether the RIA and preamble to the proposed rule make a reasonable effort at covering the major elements of regulatory analysis, but we do not evaluate the quality of the underlying science the agency used.
*From calendar year 2010 to date, the Regulatory Report Card does not include budget or transfer regulations that define how the government will spend or collect money.
Regulations Recently Closed for Comment
Agency Report Card Rankings
This page presents a ranking of all the agencies by score on the Regulatory Report Card.
Learn More About Federal Regulations
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has an active regulation research program, recent papers include: