Regulatory Process & OIRA

Regulatory Process & OIRA

Research

Jerry Ellig, Richard Williams | Dec 12, 2014
Congress has a diverse array of proposed regulatory reforms vying for attention, from targeted reforms aimed at providing relief to small businesses to broadbased reforms of the rulemaking process. Setting priorities will be a challenge, but the common objective is clear: solving more problems at a lower cost with fewer regulations.
Mark D. White | Dec 02, 2014
There are important reasons why using happiness to guide policymaking cannot work as promised. The term happiness covers many different concepts and means something different to different people.
Jerry Ellig, Christopher J. Conover | Nov 18, 2014
Elected leaders delegate rulemaking to federal agencies, then seek to influence rulemaking through top-down directives and statutory deadlines. This paper documents an unintended consequence of these control strategies: they reduce regulatory agencies’ ability and incentive to conduct high-quality economic analysis to inform their decisions.
Omar Ahmad Al-Ubaydli, Patrick McLaughlin | Nov 12, 2014
RegData is a new database that quantifies federal regulation. It analyzes the text of federal regulations to create novel and objective measures of the accumulation of regulations in the economy overall and across different industries in the United States. In addition, RegData measures the degree to which different groups of regulations, such as those from a particular agency, target specific industries.
John D. Graham , James Broughel | Jun 04, 2014
The papers in our series tell an important story about how federal regulators—whether by design or by effect—circumvent both the APA and OIRA oversight. Regulators thus can achieve their ends without adhering to the standard regulatory procedures that represent part of the checks and balances of American government. These procedures have been designed to ensure that technical expertise drives regulatory decisionmaking, as well as to ensure a certain degree of democratic accountability of regulators to the public.
Sherzod Abdukadirov | May 29, 2014
Over the decades, regulatory reforms have sought to increase agency accountability and improve the quality of regulatory analysis and decision-making, with varying success. In this paper, I draw upon previous reform experiences to identify four criteria for effective reforms.

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, | 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

Over the last decade, federal regulatory agencies finalized more than 37,000 regulations, yet 92 percent of rules escaped review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), a small office tasked with reviewing significant regulatory actions promulgated by such agencies.

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.
Thomas D. Hopkins is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he taught from 1988 to 2012.
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.

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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