This paper suggests a process to identify, evaluate, and eliminate inefficient regulations. Combining lessons from two successful government reform programs—the Base Realignment and Closure Act in the United States and the Dutch Administrative Burden Reduction Programme—the proposed framework would identify the regulatory costs associated with a historical piece of legislation and create a target for reduction in regulatory costs.
This study attempts to shed some light on whether the benefits claimed by the federal agencies are likely to be achieved. In contrast to other validation studies, the study focuses on the agencies’ benefit claims rather than the actually measured benefits. Since agencies justify their regulatory decisions based on expected benefits, examining the quality of these claims is important.
The Industry-specific Regulatory Constraint Database (IRCD) is a new database that quantifies federal regulation. IRCD offers a novel and objective measure of the accumulation of regulations in the economy overall and for all the different industries in the U.S. IRCD uses text analysis to count the number of binding constraints in the text of federal regulations, which are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). In addition, it measures the degree to which different groups of regulations target specific industries.
Most federal agencies are required to conduct benefit-cost analyses for their largest regulations. Benefit-cost analysis is intended to objectively inform decision makers about the myriad effects of a range of potential alternatives. For many regulations, benefit-cost analyses depend on health risk assessment. It is well established that a clear conceptual distinction must be established and maintained between (positive) risk assessment and (normative) risk management. Decision makers cannot ensure that regulatory choices conform with their intentions if they cannot discern where the science in an analysis ends and value judgments begin.
Regulatory impact analyses can serve as an important tool. They are designed to help policymakers consider a proposed regulation’s potential impact on the economy as a whole, not simply the interests of those lobbying for that regu- lation. When federal agencies conduct such analyses, how- ever, they often fail to comply with requirements enunciated in executive orders from presidents of both political parties over the past few decades. As a result, agency estimates of benefits are often fragmentary and unreliable, leading to ineffective regulation and wasting of public resources.
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.