Regulation

Regulation

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”…
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.
Patrick McLaughlin, Richard Williams | Feb 11, 2014
The American regulatory system has no working, systematic process for reviewing regulations for obsolescence or poor performance. Over time, this has facilitated the accumulation a vast stock of regulations. Regulatory accumulation can negatively affect GDP growth, labor productivity, innovation, and safety—perhaps explaining why every president since Jimmy Carter has recognized it as a problem.
Brent Skorup | Jan 01, 2014
Describing the U.S. system of spectrum allocation, former Federal Communications Commission officials Gerald Faulhaber and David Farber have written, “[the] current system is similar to that of the former Soviet Union’s GOSPLAn agency, which allocated scarce resources by administrative fiat at among factories and other producers in the Soviet economy.” the U.S. spectrum regulatory framework, still largely intact since 1927, severely distorts the 21st century technology industry and harms consumers with higher prices and lack of choice.

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.”…
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.
John Morrall | Sep 30, 2013
The enormous amount of regulation generated each year and the huge potential for improving it could provide enormous net benefits to society. A strong watchdog agency is needed to provide the transparency and checks and balances needed to set priorities for high-impact regulations. In addition to rebuilding OIRA’s technical staff and enhancing its voice in policy debates with the agencies, several other more subtle steps should be considered by the administrator.
James Broughel | Sep 16, 2013
The Regulatory Studies Program of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is dedicated to advancing knowledge about the effects of regulation on society. As part of its mission, the program conducts careful and independent analyses that employ contemporary economic scholarship to assess rulemaking proposals and their effects on the economic opportunities and the social well-being available to all members of American society. This comment addresses the efficiency and efficacy of this proposed reconsideration from an economic point of view. Specifically, it examines how the relevant rule may be improved by more closely examining the societal goals the rule intends to achieve and whether this reconsideration will successfully achieve those goals. In many instances, regulations can be substantially improved by choosing more effective regulatory options or more carefully assessing the actual societal problem.
James Broughel | Sep 05, 2013
The Regulatory Studies Program (RSP) of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is dedicated to advancing knowledge about the effects of regulation on society. As part of its mission, RSP conducts careful and independent analyses that employ contemporary economic scholarship to assess rulemaking proposals and their effects on the economic opportunities available to and social well-being of all members of American society.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

| Sep 24, 2013
The Mercatus State Policy Guide is intended to summarize and condense the best research available on the most relevant topics. It’s a starting point for discussion, not a comprehensive overview of economic policy. Each statement is supported by academic research, with links provided in the endnotes. Mercatus scholars are available to further explain the results of their studies. We hope the guide will prove to be a valuable tool in your economic policy research.
Christopher Koopman, Nita Ghei | Aug 27, 2013
In the mid-1970s behavioral economics began to challenge the neoclassical rational actor model by fusing the insights of psychology and economics. Over the course of the next 40 years, a prescriptive framework built around these insights shifted focus toward attempting to mitigate the harm individuals cause themselves as a result of what the agencies view as “irrational” behavior.
| Jul 23, 2013
The Mercatus Policy Guide is intended to summarize and condense the best research available on the most pressing topics. It serves as a starting point for discussion, not a comprehensive overview of economic policy. Anyone who wants to go deeper into these studies should consult the references listed at the back. Mercatus scholars are available to further explain the results of their studies. We hope the guide will prove to be a valuable tool in your evaluation of economic policy.
Mark Adams | Mar 04, 2013
The president’s recent proposal to increase the minimum wage to $9.00 is not the way to help low-income households. Raising the minimum wage is more likely to increase unemployment for some of the least skilled American workers and further impede a historically slow recovery. Research from the Mercatus Center shows that regulatory reform would help low-income families without causing more unemployment or slowing the recovery.
Joshua C. Hall, Michael Williams | Feb 05, 2013
The concern that American businesses are overly burdened by regulations has legitimate grounds. In 2011, American companies had to comply with over 1 million federal regulatory restrictions, compared with about 860,000 a decade earlier.[1] However, to truly address concerns about overregulation, policy makers cannot focus exclusively on the growth of new regulations. Attention must also be paid to the lack of an efficient and effective regulatory review process for preexisting rules.
W. Kip Viscusi, Ted Gayer | Aug 06, 2012
In the recent Mercatus Center study, “Overriding Consumer Preferences with Energy Regulation,” Ted Gayer, co-director of the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution, and W. Kip Viscusi, University Distin- guished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management at Vanderbilt, examined the economic justification for recent U.S. energy regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The study found that the energy-efficiency standards have a relatively minor effect on greenhouse-gas emissions, and—per the regulating agencies’ own estimates—cannot pass cost-benefit analyses based on their environmental benefits alone. To justify these regulations, the agencies relied on estimated benefits derived from correcting consumer “irrationality.”…

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.
Keith Hall | Jun 14, 2013
Regulation can play an important role in a market economy where there are significant market externalities, incomplete markets, information asymmetries, or public goods. Ideally, regulation identifies and focuses on correcting these market failures with minimal economic cost.
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.

Mercatus Regulatory Studies



Charts

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

Richard Williams is the vice president for policy research at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He is an expert in benefit-cost analysis and risk analysis, particularly associated with food safety and nutrition.
Patrick A. McLaughlin is a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Sherzod Abdukadirov is a research fellow in the Regulatory Studies Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He specializes in the federal regulatory process, institutional reforms, food and health, and social complexity.
Jerry Ellig is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a former assistant professor of economics at George Mason University. He specializes in the federal regulatory process, economic regulation, and telecommunications regulation.
James Broughel is a program manager of the Regulatory Studies Program at the Mercatus Center. Mr. Broughel is a doctoral student in the economics program at George Mason University. He earned his MA in economics from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Podcasts

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

Upcoming Events

Recent Events

Please join the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and senior research fellow, Dr. Jerry Ellig, for a Regulation University program focusing on the elements essential to defining the problem and how agencies perform in completing this first essential step.

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.

Media Clippings

Eli Dourado | Feb 04, 2014
Eli Dourado cited at The Washington Post.
Matthew Mitchell | Oct 22, 2013
Matt Mitchell discusses "Uber Wars" on Reason TV.
Jerry Brito | Oct 03, 2013
Jerry Brito cited at The Wall Street Journal.
Jerry Brito | Oct 03, 2013
Jerry Brito cited at Los Angeles Times.
Jerry Brito | Aug 27, 2013
Jerry Brito cited at Wired.
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