Recent Research

Susan Dudley

Public Comment: CO2 Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources – Electric Utility Generating Units, Brian F. Mannix, December 2, 2014

Public Interest Comment on DOE's Proposed Efficiency Standards for Commercial Heating and Cooling EquipmentSofie E. Miller, December 1, 2014

Stakeholder Participation and Regulatory Policymaking in the United States, Steven J. Balla & Susan E. Dudley, November 7, 2014

Public Interest Comment on the Proposed Definition of "Waters of the United States" Under the Clean Water Act, Tracy Mehan, November 7, 2014

Public Interest Comment on the CFPB's Proposed Home Mortgage Disclosure (Regulation C)Lindsay M. Scherber, October 29, 2014

Public Interest Comment on NHTSA's Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications, Gerald W. Brock & Lindsay M. Scherber, October 21, 2014

Australia’s Regulatory 'Bonfire'Jeff Bennett & Susan E. Dudley, Regulation Magazine, Fall 2014

Looking Back to Move AheadSofie E. Miller, Regulation Magazine, Fall 2014

Tight Budgets Constrain Some Regulatory Agencies, But Not All, Susan E. Dudley & Melinda Warren, Regulation Magazine, Fall 2014

What's Wrong with the Back of the Envelope? A Call for Simple (and Timely) Benefit-Cost Analysis, Christopher Carrigan & Stuart Shapiro, October 7, 2014

Retrospective Review Comment on DOT’s Proposed Enhanced Tank Car Standards and Operational Controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains, Sofie E. Miller, September 29, 2014

Public Interest Comment on the Department of Transportation's Proposed Rule: Transparency of Airline Ancillary Fees and Other Consumer Protection Issues, Sofie E. Miller, September 17, 2014

Comment on OMB's Report to Congress on Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations, Susan Dudley, Brian Mannix, and Sofie Miller

Valuation of PM 2.5 Reductions in OMB's Report to Congress on Benefits and Costs of Federal regulations, Tony Cox, September 2,2014 

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Regulatory Studies Center team picture

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

Washington monument with cranes and scaffolding
January 21, 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.


Transatlantic Regulatory Issues

Susan Dudley with Amb. O'Sullivan

With support from the European Union, the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center hosted a conference on "Enhancing the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership: Reducing Regulatory Barriers" on November 19 and 20, 2014 in Washington DC. The conference featured remarks by senior EU and US policy officials and regulatory experts, and stakeholders exchanged their perspectives and expertise on panels discussing such topics as regulatory analysis, the role for legislators and courts, risk assessment and risk management, public engagement, and regulatory cooperation. To continue the conversation, many of the speakers have written short essays summarizing their remarks. Over the next few weeks, the GW Regulatory Studies Center will post these essays on the conference website.

2014: The Regulatory Year in Review

magnifying glass
December 30, 2014
By Blake Taylor, Policy Analyst

This commentary highlights ten important final rules U.S. federal agencies issued in 2014, from the Volcker Rule to Tier 3 and everything in between. Although the agencies predict each rule will offer substantial public benefits, each rule also has considerable expected costs, some of which outweigh the benefits.


Public Comment: CO2 Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources – Electric Utility Generating Units

EPA flag
December 02, 2014
by Brian Mannix, Visiting Scholar

EPA has proposed state-by-state carbon-intensity targets for electricity generation. Several states and other parties have asked EPA to convert these intensity targets into "mass-based" targets – i.e., carbon caps that could be used in cap-and-trade programs. RSC Visiting Scholar Brian Mannix argues that this would be a mistake; emissions trading can work well under an intensity constraint, and would be far more resistant to rent-seeking than would a cap-and-trade program.


Public Interest Comment on DOE's Proposed Efficiency Standards for Commercial Heating and Cooling Equipment

Pie chart: benefit composition of DOE rule
December 01, 2014
By Sofie E. Miller, Senior Policy Analyst

The Department of Energy's proposed rule amends the existing energy efficiency standards for commercial unitary air conditioners (CUAC) and commercial unitary heat pumps (CUHP), which are used for space conditioning of commercial and industrial buildings. The standards will increase appliance prices for commercial customers such as grocery stores, restaurants, universities, and hospitals by between $2,167 and $5,043 per unit. As DOE explains in its proposed rule, two types of market failure could potentially be addressed by setting energy efficiency standards for CUAC and CUHP: externalities related to greenhouse gas emissions and asymmetric information (and related misaligned incentives) regarding high-efficiency commercial appliances. However, neither of the potential market failures cited by DOE is solved by its proposed energy efficiency standards, leaving the proposal economically unjustifiable.


Stakeholder Participation and Regulatory Policymaking in the United States

November 07, 2014
By Steven J. Balla & Susan E. Dudley

Regulation is one of the most common and important ways in which public policy is made and implemented in the United States. Agencies of the federal government issue thousands of regulations on an annual basis. Given the importance of regulation, an underlying concern regards the nature of stakeholder participation in the regulatory process. In one respect, stakeholder participation is salient as a means through which information about the economic and political ramifications of regulations is generated. In another respect, stakeholder participation serves as a vehicle through which stakeholders become deeply involved in regulatory policymaking, by, for example, engaging in a "deliberative process that aims toward the achievement of a rational consensus over the regulatory decision." With this range of possibilities in mind, to what extent does stakeholder participation in practice bring principles of information provision and deliberative engagement to bear in the regulatory process?


Public Interest Comment on the Proposed Definition of "Waters of the United States" Under the Clean Water Act

November 07, 2014
By G. Tracy Mehan III

EPA and the Corps' proposal rule clarifying the scope of 'waters of the United States' protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA) is intended to increase predictability and consistency of the CWA program. This comment offers recommendations to the Agencies on how best to develop plans for measuring the effects of the rule, if it is implemented, and at mitigating the uncertainty and unpredictability, lack of prior notice and concerns for due process inherent in the proposal's many abstract, open-ended regulatory and definitional provisions. These recommendations may lead to better attainment of the Agencies' stated goals, while minimizing case-specific determinations and other elements which negatively affect regulated entities and citizens in the exercise of their private property rights.


What's Wrong with the Back of the Envelope? A Call for Simple (and Timely) Benefit-Cost Analysis

October 07, 2014
By Christopher Carrigan & Stuart Shapiro

Benefit-cost analysis has been criticized by observers across the ideological spectrum for as long as it has been part of the rulemaking process. Still, proponents and detractors agree that analysis has morphed into a mechanism often used by agencies to justify regulatory decisions already made. Carrigan & Shapiro argue that a simpler analysis of more alternatives conducted earlier in the process can resuscitate it as a tool to inform policy. The reform is based on the principles that benefit-cost analyses should: 1) be completed well before the proposed rule; 2) eschew the complex quantification that has made them largely inaccessible; and 3) consider realistic policy alternatives beyond simply the agency preference. Recognizing that requiring a procedure does not ensure regulators will follow it, the authors offer possible remedies, including intensifying or relaxing subsequent review of proposed rules, which raise the cost of circumventing the reform or lower the cost of following it.