Recent Research

Susan Dudley

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

Public Interest Comment on the Department of Labor's Proposed Rule: Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Lynn White, Esq., April 16, 2015

Public Comment: Prepaid Accounts Under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (Regulation E) and the Truth In Lending Act (Regulation Z), Blake Taylor, March 23, 2015

The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center

Susan Dudley with Professor Pierce and Sen. Mike Enzi

The GW Regulatory Studies Center's mission is to improve regulatory policy by raising awareness of regulations’ effects through research, education, and outreach.

The Center is a leading source for applied scholarship in regulatory issues, and a training ground for anyone who wants to understand the effects of regulation and ensure that regulatory policies are designed in the public interest.

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.


Consistent Inconsistencies: Misclassification of Rules Could Hamper International Regulatory Cooperation

Consistent Inconsistencies
August 26, 2015
by Daniel R. Pérez

International regulatory cooperation is a central component of current U.S. efforts to negotiate international trade agreements. As traditional barriers to trade decline, understanding regulatory impacts on trade and investment is of particular importance for economic growth, given that these agreements include trade partners that accounted for almost $3 trillion in goods and services traded in 2013. Executive Order 13609 tasked executive regulatory agencies with identifying regulations that were likely to have a significant impact on international trade and investment. We examined the performance of agencies in identifying such regulations and our research suggests there is significant room for improvement.


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.


Considering the Cumulative Effects of Regulation

August 10, 2015
by Susan E. Dudley, Director

Longstanding executive and legislative directives require agencies to analyze the expected impact of new regulatory requirements before they are issued. While important, this ex-ante regulation-by-regulation analysis may not account for the cumulative effect of regulations on society or specific sectors of the economy. Dudley's reflections were triggered by insightful questions for the record posed by Senator Joni Ernst after a joint hearing of the Senate Budget and Homeland Security and Government Affairs on June 23 Senate.


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.


Learning from the Past: It's Time to Reevaluate the Renewable Fuel Standards

corn field
July 28, 2015
By Sofie E. Miller, Senior Policy Analyst

The Environmental Protection Agency’s latest Renewable Fuel Standard proposal would require 17.4 billion gallons of biofuel to be blended intro transportation fuel in 2016. Unfortunately, as we explain in a comment filed on EPA’s proposal, this biofuel mandate is bad news for the environment and for American consumers. Given the availability of new information on the impacts of the program, Congress should reevaluate whether the Renewable Fuel Standard is accomplishing what Congress intended.


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.


Regulatory Pay as you Go: Lessons from Other Countries

International flags at the UN
July 15, 2015
by Ana Maria Zarate Moreno, Research Assistant

The adoption of the “one in, one out” rule is becoming a popular approach to control the regulatory burden borne by businesses and citizens all over the world. This commentary presents lessons from other countries in implementing this approach. It also highlights the necessity of having established systems for controlling the flow of regulation, sound institutional quality and strong oversight in order to effectively control the regulatory burden.


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.


Hogan’s Had It with Burdensome Regulations

Governor Larry Hogan
July 13, 2015
by Sydney E. Allen, Communications & Outreach Coordinator

On July 9, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan established the state's Regulatory Reform Commission with a focus on 10 key issue areas. The 13 + member commission aims to analyze and review Maryland regulations with public input. In 2014, Maryland ranked lower than 35 states in terms of business friendly regulations - can this Commission improve the state's regulatory woes? The conversation has begun but the regulatory hurdles don't end at the Maryland state line.


Senate Explores a Regulatory Budget to Increase Transparency, Oversight

Federal agency building
July 07, 2015
By Saayee Arumugam, Summer Fellow

Spending programs in the fiscal budget come with salient costs: the taxes (or debt) used to finance them. Regulations can accomplish similar policy objectives, but with less transparent costs and muted oversight. Both on-budget programs and regulations are designed to achieve policy goals, but without budgetary constraints, the American regulatory regime continues to be additive in nature and lacks incentives for retrospective evaluation of effectiveness.


Escaping the "Smoke and Mirrors" in Benefit Cost Analysis

Smoke and mirrors
July 01, 2015
by Ana Maria Zarate Moreno

On June 18, five experts shared their views on the proper scope of BCA, how to improve this tool, and the role Congress and the Courts should play in the rulemaking process. This commentary presents the proposals and challenges identified in the “Costs and Benefits vs. Smoke and Mirrors” panel of the Federalist Society’s Third Annual Executive Branch Review Conference,


Supreme Court's EPA Mercury Ruling is a Victory for Common Sense Regulation

Scales of justice
June 30, 2015
Susan E. Dudley, Director

On June 29, SCOTUS ruled that "EPA interpreted [the Clean Air Act] unreasonably when it deemed cost irrelevant to the decision to regulate power plants." In this commentary, Dudley examines the opinion of the Court, and explains how this ruling is a victory for common-sense regulations and American consumers.


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.


Making Regulation More Accountable

Securities and Exchange Commission
Securities and Exchange Commission
June 19, 2015
Susan E. Dudley, Director

On June 18, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act which would require independent Federal regulatory agencies (such as the FCC, SEC, & CPSC) to be held to the same analytical and oversight standards as executive agencies. In this commentary, Dudley explains how this piece of legislation is a positive step towards good governance.


Misbehavioral Economics?

Exchange of ideas
June 17, 2015
Brian Mannix, Research Professor

The spirited Point-Counterpoint debate between Cass Sunstein & Hunt Allcott and Mannix & Dudley argued the question of using “internalities” (aka “private benefits”) to justify government regulation of energy efficiency in appliances. In this commentary, Mannix argues that the model espoused by Sunstein and Allcott only works because it assumes there are no rational consumers, giving the government a monopoly on rationality.


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.