Recent Research

Susan Dudley

Regulatory Science and Policy: A Case Study of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, Susan E. Dudley, September 9, 2015

Whose Benefits Are They, Anyway? Examining the Benefits of Energy Efficiency Rules 2007 - 2014, Sofie E. Miller, September 2, 2015

The New European Better Regulation Agenda: Changes and Potential for Improving the U.S. Rulemaking Process, Ana Maria Zarate Moreno, August 17, 2015 

The Role of Transparency in Regulatory Governance: Comparing US and EU Regulatory Systems, Susan E. Dudley & Kai Wegrich, Summer 2015

Public Comment: NRC's Financial Qualifications for Reactor Licensing, Gerald W. Brock, July 30, 2015

Public Comment: EPA's Proposed Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016, Sofie E. Miller, July 24, 2015

Can Fiscal Budget Concepts Improve Regulation?, Susan E. Dudley, July 16, 2015

Improving Regulatory Accountability: Lessons from the Past and Prospects for the Future, Susan E. Dudley, July 2015

Notice & Comment: How Agencies Use Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking, Sofie E. Miller & Saayee Arumugam, June 23, 2015

Point/Counterpoint: Valuing Internalities in Regulatory Impact Analysis, Susan E. Dudley & Brian Mannix, June 11, 2015

One Discount Rate Fits All? The Regressive Effects of DOE's Energy Efficiency Rule, Sofie E. Miller, May 20, 2015

2016 Regulators' Budget: Increases Consistent with Growth in Fiscal Budget, Susan E. Dudley & Melinda Warren, May 19, 2015

Uncertainty in the Cost-Effectiveness of Federal Air Quality Regulations, Krutilla et al., May 8, 2015

Recommendations for Improving the Regulatory Process, May 4, 2015

Public Interest Comment on the Federal Aviation Administration's Proposed Rule: Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Blake Taylor, April 24, 2015

What's New from the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center

Public Interest Comment on EPA and NHTSA's Proposed Rule: Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles – Phase 2

Truck fleet
October 02, 2015
by Brian Mannix, Research Professor

Contrary to claims, EPA and NHTSA’s proposed standards to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency for medium and heavy-duty engines and vehicles is not “a win-win-win.” The agencies’ RIA forecasts large benefits, mostly in the form of private fuel savings but, fails to recognize that competitive markets are far better informed, and far better motivated, to pursue these fuel savings efficiently. The net effect will be higher costs, not savings. Other external benefits might be used to justify the standards, but an honest RIA would acknowledge that these come at a price.


A Review of Regulatory Reform Proposals

Dudley testimony
September 17, 2015
by Susan E. Dudley, Director

The Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee held a hearing on Thursday September 16, at which they asked Susan Dudley to provide expert input on six regulatory reform proposals scheduled for markup. Her testimony complimented the Committee on the constructive, bipartisan reforms, which if passed, could bring about real improvements in regulatory procedures and outcomes. She offered detailed comments on each bill, of which three focus on evaluating the effects of existing regulations and modifying them as appropriate, and three focus on enhancing analytical procedures conducted before new regulations are issued.


Regulatory Science and Policy: A Case Study of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards

September 09, 2015
by Susan E. Dudley, Director

Effective environmental policy depends on reliable scientific information and transparent policy choices; it is challenged not only when science is politicized, but also when policy is “scientized.” This paper suggests that current practices scientize policy and threaten not only regulatory outcomes, but the credibility of the scientific process. Using a case study of the procedures by which the Environmental Protection Agency sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards under the Clean Air Act, it illustrates some of the perverse incentives involved in developing regulations, and offers possible mechanisms to improve those incentives and resulting policy.


Whose Benefits Are They, Anyway? Examining the Benefits of Energy Efficiency Rules 2007 - 2014

September 02, 2015
by Sofie E. Miller, Senior Policy Analyst

Over the past decade, regulations setting energy efficiency standards have proliferated. These rules account billions of dollars in annual regulatory benefits, but the Department of Energy relies on private benefits and benefits to residents of other countries to justify the standards, contrary to typical benefit-cost analyses. This paper examines the composition of benefits resulting from DOE’s energy efficiency rules 2007 – 2014, and finds that these rules don’t pass a traditional cost-benefit test when relying on traditional analytical assumptions.


The New European Better Regulation Agenda: Changes and Potential for Improving the U.S. Rulemaking Process

Better Regulation Agenda
August 17, 2015
by Ana Maria Zárate Moreno, Research Assistant

On May 19, 2015, the European Commission published a new agenda to improve the EU's regulatory processes by increasing the scope and quality of regulatory assessments, expanding transparency and consultation, and seeking to work with other European entities. These changes may be useful for other countries in their efforts to improve regulatory governance. Based on the European initiatives, some possible actions for improving the U.S. rulemaking process are: i) increase input from stakeholders on the impacts of existing regulations through a well-established platform that formalizes a constant dialogue between federal government, states, and stakeholders; and ii) provide an online program to comment on the stock of regulations as complement of the consultation process.


The Role of Transparency in Regulatory Governance: Comparing US and EU Regulatory Systems

US and EU flags
August 11, 2015
by Susan E. Dudley and Kai Wegrich

This review of regulatory procedures in the EU and US suggests that each values good regulatory practices, such as transparency, public consultation, and regulatory impact analysis, but emphasizes them to different degrees at different stages in the regulatory process. Particularly for regulations that address human health risks, both jurisdictions should be more transparent regarding the uncertainties surrounding estimates of regulatory outcomes and the effect of key assumptions on those estimates. A transparent process for evaluating regulatory effects ex post could also improve regulatory analysis and outcomes.


Public Comment: NRC's Financial Qualifications for Reactor Licensing

Sequoyah nuclear power plant
July 30, 2015
By Gerald W. Brock, Co-Director

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission published a draft regulatory basis for a proposed rulemaking that would amend the financial qualifications standard for new reactor licensing from the current "reasonable assurance" to the proposed "appears to be financially qualified." However, the proposed standard is unnecessary because there is a market test of financial qualifications that is more accurate than regulatory review. While the proposed new financial qualification standard is better than the current financial qualification standard, simply abolishing the financial qualifications requirement for licensing would be an improvement over the proposed new standard.


Public Comment: EPA's Proposed Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016

EPA flag
July 24, 2015
By Sofie E. Miller, Senior Policy Analyst

The Renewable Fuel Standard program is mandated by Congress to increase the production and use of renewable fuels, such as corn ethanol, in gasoline and diesel. However, the availability of new scientific, technical, and economic information shows that the RFS program does not work as it was intended to, and is likely causing significant environmental harm through increased greenhouse gas emissions and damage to waterbodies and ecosystems. In this proposed rule, EPA appropriately uses its waiver authority to set renewable fuel standards below those prescribed by statute. Given the environmental damage and the large economic impact of the standards, EPA should update its benefits analysis and consider using its waiver authority to further reduce the standards. Responsibility rests with Congress to reevaluate the effects of the statutes it authorized, which are now causing economic and environmental harm.


Can Fiscal Budget Concepts Improve Regulation?

Pages in the federal register graph
July 16, 2015
Susan E. Dudley, Director

Despite efforts to ensure that new regulations provide net benefits to citizens, the accumulation of regulations threatens economic growth and well-being. As a result, the U.S. legislature is exploring the possibility that applying fiscal budgeting concepts to regulation could bring more accountability and transparency to the regulatory process. This paper examines the advantages and challenges of applying regulatory budgeting practices, and draws some preliminary conclusions based on successful experiences in other countries.


Improving Regulatory Accountability: Lessons from the Past and Prospects for the Future

Congress 1941
July 15, 2015
by Susan E. Dudley, Director

This Article examines efforts by the three branches of federal government to oversee regulatory policy and procedures. It begins with a review of efforts over the last century to establish appropriate checks and balances on regulations issued by the executive branch and then evaluates current regulatory reforms that would hold the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch more accountable for regulations and their outcomes.


Notice & Comment: How Agencies Use Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking

Pie chart: ANPRMs by type of rulemaking
June 23, 2015
By Sofie E. Miller & Saayee Arumugam

Agencies already use ANPRMs to gather public input, and have for many years. However, our analysis sought to answer these questions: How frequently do agencies use ANPRMs? Which agencies use ANPRMs most frequently? Do agencies use ANPRMs to solicit public input on minor regulatory issues, or for bigger policy questions? This analysis provides answers to each of these questions for use by policymakers, agencies, and the public alike as we contemplate practical solutions for improving the regulatory process.


Dudley: Accounting for the True Cost of Regulation: Exploring the Possibility of a Regulatory Budget

Susan Dudley testimony
June 23, 2015
by Susan E. Dudley, Director

On June 23, RSC scholars Susan Dudley and Richard Pierce and President of the Canadian Treasury Board, Tony Clement, testified during a joint hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget and Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. Dudley testified in support of a regulatory budget and cited the potential for constructive debate on the real impacts of regulations, greater transparency, more efficient allocation of resources, and ultimately the potential for more cost-effective achievement of public priorities.


Point/Counterpoint: Valuing Internalities in Regulatory Impact Analysis

JPAM journal cover
June 11, 2015
By Brian Mannix & Susan Dudley

In this Point/Counterpoint article series with Cass Sunstein & Hunt Allcott, Mannix & Dudley argue that allowing regulators to control consumers 'for their own good' – based on some deficiency in the consumers themselves rather than any failure in the marketplace – is to abandon any serious attempt to keep regulatory policy grounded in any objective notion of the public good.


One Discount Rate Fits All? The Regressive Effects of DOE's Energy Efficiency Rule

Cover of Policy Perspectives magazine
May 20, 2015
Sofie E. Miller (in Policy Perspectives Vol. 22)

This paper examines the Department of Energy's (DOE) reliance on low discount rates to estimate the benefits of its energy efficiency standards and uses existing literature on implicit consumer discount rates to calculate a range of benefits for DOE’s furnace fan rule. While DOE calculates large net benefits from its energy efficiency rule, using discount rates that better represent average consumer time preferences shows that this standard results in net costs. Furthermore, given the variation in consumer discount rates by income, this standard is effectively a transfer payment from low- and median-income households to high-income households.