Regulatory Process & OIRA

Regulatory Process & OIRA

Research

Jerry Ellig, Rosemarie Fike | Jul 30, 2013
Numerous regulatory reform proposals would require federal agencies to conduct more thorough analysis of proposed regulations or expand the resources and influence of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which currently reviews executive branch regulations. We employ data on variation in current administrative procedures to assess the likely effects of proposed regulatory process reforms on the quality and use of regulatory impact analysis (RIA). Many specific types of activity by agencies and OIRA are correlated with higher quality analysis and greater use of analysis in decisions, and the effects are relatively large. Our results suggest that greater use of Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemakings for major regulations, formal hearings for important rules, articulation of retrospective review plans at the time regulations are issued, and expansion of OIRA’s resources and role may improve the quality and use of RIAs.
Jerry Ellig, James Broughel | Jul 16, 2013
For more than three decades, presidents have instructed executive branch agencies to use the results of Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIAs) when deciding whether and how to regulate. Scores from the Mercatus Center’s Regulatory Report Card—an in-depth evaluation of the quality and use of regulatory analysis conducted by executive branch agencies— show that agencies often fail to explain how RIAs affected their decisions. For this reason, regulatory reform should require agencies to conduct analysis before making decisions and explain how the analysis affected the decisions.
Patrick McLaughlin, Jerry Ellig, John Morrall | Jun 01, 2013
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.
Joshua C. Hall, Michael Williams | Dec 20, 2012
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.
Sherzod Abdukadirov | Dec 18, 2012
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.
Edward Stringham, Ivan Chen | Oct 18, 2012
A system of private regulation gives more firms access to capital markets and more choices to investors, and it can be viewed as a model for other markets to follow.

Testimony & Comments

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.
Diana Thomas | Jul 09, 2013
The best way to avoid forcing low-income households to pay for the preferences of high-income households is to allow them to make their own choices when it comes to the mitigation of risks they experience. Unintended consequences of regulation, like the regressive effect identified here, will often result in greater harm than the harm the regulation seeks to avoid in the first place. Regulators should heed the medical ethics maxim “first, do no harm” and at a minimum subject all regulation to a cost-benefit test that considers potential regressive effects.
Jerry Ellig | Jun 26, 2013
Unfortunately, agencies’ Regulatory Impact Analyses are not nearly as informative as they ought to be, and there is often scant evidence that agencies utilized the analysis in decision making. These problems have persisted through multiple administrations of both political parties. The problem is institutional, not partisan or personal. Further improvement in the quality and use of Regulatory Impact Analysis will likely occur only as a result of legislative reform of the regulatory process. To achieve improvement, all agencies should be required to conduct thorough and objective Regulatory Impact Analysis for major regulations and to explain how the results of the analysis informed their decisions.
Randall Lutter | Jul 12, 2012
More generally, greater data collection, access, and analysis can foster improved understanding of regulations and contribute to reducing regulatory burdens and improving their effectiveness.
Todd Zywicki, Asa Skinner | Jun 28, 2012
Profits gained from overdraft protection have been used by banks to expand services and accessibility for customers both rich and poor, and limiting overdraft protection may threaten many of the benefits that it makes possible.
Richard Williams | Jun 11, 2012
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has requested comment on the 2012 Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local and Tribal Entities (hereafter referred to as “the OMB report”). This comment has been produced by Richard A. Williams, Ph.D., of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, an education, research, and outreach organization that works with scholars, policy experts, and government officials to bridge academic theory and real-world practice.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Speeches & Presentations

Mercatus Regulatory Studies



Charts

OIRA’s most recent draft report for fiscal year 2003 through 2012 estimated that the major regulations the agencies evaluated would produce benefits ranging from $192.7 to $799.7 billion (2001$), at a cost of $56.6 to $83.7 billion (2001$).

Experts

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.
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.
John Morrall is an affiliated senior scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His primary research interests are regulatory impact analysis, benefit-cost analysis, and regulatory reform and oversight.
Adam Thierer is a senior research fellow with the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He specializes in technology, media, Internet, and free-speech policies, with a particular focus on online safety and digital privacy. His writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and Forbes, and he has appeared on national television and radio. Thierer is a frequent guest lecturer and has testified numerous times on Capitol Hill.
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.

Podcasts

Hester Peirce | February 21, 2013
Hester Peirce discusses how regulations bring laws to life at this Regulation University event.

Recent Events

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University invites you to join us for a Regulation University presentation that will lay out specific examples from Dr. Abdukadirov’s paper, The Unintended Consequences of Safety Regulation, that demonstrate the value of pre-rulemaking analysis and retrospective regulatory analysis.

Books

Susan Dudley, Jerry Brito | Aug 14, 2012
Federal regulations affect nearly every area of our lives and interest in them is increasing. However, many people have no idea how regulations are developed or how they impact our lives. Regulation: A Primer by Susan Dudley and Jerry Brito provides an accessible overview of regulatory theory, analysis, and practice.

Media Clippings

| Aug 01, 2013
Patrick McLaughlin discusses regulatory analysis.
Jerry Ellig | Jun 26, 2013
Jerry Ellig testifies before the Joint Economic Committee regarding regulatory reform.
Jerry Brito, Susan Dudley | Aug 17, 2012
Regulation: A Primer, by Susan Dudley and Jerry Brito cited in National Review Online…
Ted Gayer, W. Kip Viscusi | Aug 10, 2012
Ted Gayer and Kip Viscusi were cited for their research on energy regulations.
Jerry Ellig | May 28, 2012
Jerry Ellig and Patrick A. McLaughlin describe a new methodology they have developed to asses regulations.
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