Recent Research

Susan Dudley

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 

Bank Disclosure and incentives, Korok Ray, August 15, 2014

Comment on the DOL's Proposed Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors, Connor Roth and Mark Bigley, July 28, 2014

Retrospective Review Comment on FDA's Proposed Nutrition Fact Label Revisions, Ian Smith, July 28,2014

The Social Cost of Carbon, Susan Dudley and Brian Mannix, July 24, 2014

Recommendations to DOE on Reducing Regulatory Burden, Sofie E. Miller, July 17, 2014

Retrospective Review Comment on the Department of Education’s Proposed Violence Against Women Act Rule, Julia Morriss, Summer Fellow, July 17, 2014

Retrospective Review Comment on EPA's Proposed Agricultural Worker Protection Standards for Pesticides, Connor Roth, Summer Fellow, July 14, 2014

2015 Regulators' Budget: Economic Forms of Regulation on the Rise, Susan Dudley & Melinda Warren, July 2014

Retrospective Review Comment on FDA's Proposed e-Cigarette , Estelle Raimondo, July 7, 2014

Retrospective Review Comment on the Federal Reserve Board's Proposed Concentration Limits on Large Financial Companies, Julia Morriss, July 2, 2014

Retrospective Review Comment on SEC's Proposed Reporting Requirements for Swap Dealers, Participants, and Broker Dealers, Mark Bigley, July 1, 2014

Retrospective Review Comment on DOE's Proposed Energy Efficiency Standards for Fluorescent and Incandescent Lamps, Sofie E. Miller, June 30, 2014

Retrospective Review Comment on FDA's Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food, Philip J. Austin, June 16, 2014

About the Regulatory Studies Center

Susan Dudley with Kathryn Newcomer

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.

What's New in the Fall 2014 Regulatory Agenda?

Sofie E. Miller
November 24, 2014
By Sofie E. Miller, Senior Policy Analyst

The Fall 2014 Unified Agenda identifies 3,415 regulatory actions at different stages of development. Of these, 629 have recently been completed, and 465 are long-term. The Agenda classifies the remaining 2,321 as active regulatory actions. Interestingly, of the 599 regulatory actions listed in the Agenda for the very first time, over 40 percent are listed as Final or Completed rules, of which 11 were economically significant. This means the public didn't get notice of the rules in the Unified Agenda until it was too late to participate in the rulemaking process, even for rules that would incur more than $100 million annually in costs or benefits. This finding is consistent with our analysis of the Spring 2013 Unified Agenda, indicating a troubling pattern of lack of agency notice that could inhibit public participation. The fact that more than 40 percent of all first-time listed regulatory actions were already finalized or completed means that the public wasn't given appropriate notice of regulators' intentions, and likely had little chance to participate in the rulemaking process.


Are Internships the New 'Pathway' Into the Federal Government?

silhouette holding briefcase, umbrella
November 17, 2014
by Lindsay M. Scherber, Research Assistant

In today's competitive economy, internships have become an increasingly integral—and even necessary—part of most students' efforts to prepare for the workforce. For those of us looking to pursue a career in public service, however, one critical employer has been noticeably absent from the intern-hiring trend: the federal government. But thanks to the government's relatively new Pathways Programs, current students and recent graduates may now find it a little easier to land a full-time job in the federal government. Pathways is designed to "promote employment opportunities for students and recent graduates in the Federal workforce," through three individual programs, each of which provides for the possibility of full-time employment upon successful completion.


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?


In Memory of Gordon Tullock (February 12, 1922 - November 3, 2014)

Gordon Tullock
November 12, 2014

Gordon Tullock (February 13, 1922 – November 3, 2014) was a brilliant and charming curmudgeon. As others have noted, he often expressed affection with insults, and I had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of his wit when I was at George Mason University in the mid-2000s. I last saw Gordon in 2010, when as part of the GW Regulatory Studies Center’s Oral History project, I interviewed viewed him in Arizona, where he had retired and was living with his sister and brother-in-law.


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.


Public Interest Comment on the CFPB's Proposed Home Mortgage Disclosure (Regulation C)

CFPB logo
October 29, 2014
by Lindsay M. Scherber, Research Assistant

CFPB's proposal to amend Regulation C, which implements the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), would incorporate the specific changes prescribed by Congress, streamline HMDA compliance for covered institutions, and adopt other measures to improve the general utility of HMDA data. Given the importance of each of these desired outcomes and the magnitude of the burden on regulated entities, it is crucial that the Bureau be able to determine whether the regulation is actually accomplishing its goals and, if so, to what extent. While we are sympathetic to the challenges associated with measuring the marginal effect of additional information on largely qualitative benefits, we urge the Bureau to think creatively about possible measurement approaches. We also believe that by planning for retrospective review when the rule is still in its preliminary stage, the Bureau can start gathering the necessary data that will enable a meaningful assessment of the rule after it is in effect.


Public Interest Comment on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards: Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications

October 21, 2014
by Gerald W. Brock and Lindsay M. Scherber

Seeking to address the high number of motor vehicle crashes in the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued an ANPRM that preliminarily proposes to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication capabilities in new passenger cars and light trucks beginning in 2020. While NHTSA argues that a mandate is necessary to induce collective action because "no single manufacturer will have the incentive to build vehicles able to 'talk' to other vehicles if there are no other vehicles to talk to," we argue that the agency has not clearly demonstrated a market failure that requires regulation. Second, we contend, based on previous government attempts at anticipatory standardization, that it is impossible to predict the future course of technology with enough confidence to prescribe a specific detailed standard that will remain in effect for many years. Finally, we argue that NHTSA's cost-benefit analysis, though necessarily uncertain at this time, appears to underestimate some costs and overestimate some benefits.


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.