Susan Dudley speaking on a panel

Depiction of COVID-19.

COVID-19 and Regulation

The GW Regulatory Studies Center is actively compiling resources to better understand how COVID-19 is affecting the rulemaking process, and what the US federal government is doing in relation to the pandemic. This page provides resources that we consider helpful in understanding these changes.



GW Regulatory Studies Center 10 Year Anniversary Logo

Our Latest Publications




Regulation during COVID-19: News Sentiment Improved, While Uncertainty Remains -- July 6, 2020

By: Zhoudan Xie

This analysis shows that the expression about regulation in the COVID-related news was negative in most days during the beginning of the virus outbreak, but it started to improve in mid-March. However, the level of uncertainty expressed in the news shows no signs of diminishing, indicating persistent uncertainty surrounding regulation in the time of COVID-19.


2020 Spring Agenda: More Regulation than Deregulation for Big Rules -- July 1, 2020

By: Daniel R. Pérez

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs released the final Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions before the upcoming presidential election this November. The entries listed in the Agenda illustrate that multiple agencies plan to issue more regulatory actions than deregulatory actions in the coming months with substantive rulemakings involving immigration, energy efficiency standards, the regulation of tobacco, and changes to various transfer programs. For those rules expected to have the largest effect on society, agencies are on track to issue twice as many regulatory actions as deregulatory actions.


Improving Economic Analysis by Reorganizing Agencies’ Economists -- June 30, 2020

By: Jerry Ellig (via The Regulatory Review)

An Administrative Conference of the United States recommendation could help agencies better organize their economics staffs.


Parsing a Pair of Two-Track Regulatory Actions: Part Two -- June 22, 2020

By: Brian F. Mannix

EPA is simultaneously pursuing two related initiatives: a revision of its longstanding Guidelines for Economic Analysis, and an NPRM on the use of such analyses in rulemakings under the Clean Air Act. Meanwhile, CEQ has been making major revisions to its regulations governing NEPA for all federal agencies, but the president just signed an Executive Order telling agencies to try to work around NEPA. What’s going on? Part II of this two part commentary looks at NEPA.


Bespoke Regulatory Review -- June 19, 2020

By: Bridget C.E. Dooling

This working paper is forthcoming in The Ohio State Law Journal, and it proposes a new way forward for OIRA to perform benefit-cost analysis of draft regulations from independent agencies: bespoke regulatory review. Dooling draws on her 10+ years at OIRA in three different administrations to explain how bilateral negotiations resulting in agreements between independent regulatory agencies and OIRA could realistically fit each agency’s unique features.


Parsing a Pair of Two-Track Regulatory Actions: Part One -- June 17, 2020

By: Brian F. Mannix

EPA is simultaneously pursuing two related initiatives: a revision of its longstanding Guidelines for Economic Analysis, and an NPRM on the use of such analyses in rulemakings under the Clean Air Act. Meanwhile, CEQ has been making major revisions to its regulations governing NEPA for all federal agencies, but the p resident just signed an Executive Order telling agencies to try to work around NEPA. What’s going on? Part I of this two part commentary looks at EPA.


Nudging the Nudger: Toward a Choice Architecture for Regulators -- June 15, 2020

By: Susan E. Dudley and Zhoudan Xie

Behavioral research has shown that individuals do not always behave in ways that match textbook definitions of rationality but are subject to cognitive biases that may lead to systematic errors in judgments and decisions. Recognizing that regulators are not immune from these cognitive irrationalities, this article explores how the institutional framework or “choice architecture” in which they operate interacts with those biases.


The Social Media Executive Order and the FCC -- June 8, 2020

By: Jerry Ellig

President Trump’s executive order on social media instructs the secretary of commerce to petition the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a rulemaking that could limit social media companies’ exemption from lawsuits if they remove or restrict political speech because they disagree with the speaker’s viewpoint.  Any such rulemaking would raise formidable economic and analytical issues as well as legal issues. This commentary outlines the questions FCC analysts would have to address just to determine whether a problem exists that regulation might solve.


Consultation as Policymaking Innovation: Comparing Government Transparency and Public Participation in China and the United States -- June 3, 2020

By: Steven J. Balla & Zhoudan Xie

This article compares government transparency and public participation in policymaking across China and the United States. The analysis specifically focuses on the notice and comment process—government announcement of proposed policies and solicitation of public feedback—at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The findings suggest that differences in the Chinese and U.S. political systems, rather than issues of administrative capacity, are the primary limitations of consultation as a policymaking innovation in contemporary China.


Lost in the Flood?: Agency Responsiveness to Mass Comment Campaigns in Administrative Rulemaking -- May 26, 2020

By: Steven J. Balla, Alexander R. Beck, Elizabeth Meehan, and Aryamala Prasad

This article examines agency responsiveness to mass comment campaigns – collections of identical and near‚Äźduplicate comments sponsored by organizations and submitted by group members and supporters – in administrative rulemaking in the United States. The analysis demonstrates that, procedurally, the agency references mass comment campaigns in its responses to comments, but cites campaigns at lower rates than other comments. In terms of outcomes, the agency's regulations are generally not consistent with changes requested in comments, a lack of association that holds especially for mass comment campaigns. These patterns suggest that legal imperatives trump political considerations in conditioning agency responsiveness, given that mass comment campaigns – relative to other comments – generally contain little “relevant matter.”



 

 


Subscribe to Our Newsletters

 

SUPPORT THE CENTER


Do you want better regulations?  We can help YOU achieve that goal!

MAKE A DONATION


The GW Regulatory Studies Center could not be here today without the generous support of individuals, foundations, and organizations around the world who actively donate resources to allow us to provide paid internships to promising students, host widely attended bi-partisan events, and publish material on the most pressing issues in regulatory policy.



What We're Working On

 

Wheat field

USDA Reports

The GW Regulatory Studies Center's cooperative agreements with the US Department of Agriculture analyze agricultural regulations in a series of reports.

Image of a chamber of Congress filled with all members listening to a speech.

Congressional Review Act

Whether you think the policy is vital to democratic governance or an improper check on agency actions, we have the details and analysis you're looking for!


Making A Difference


Photo of Cass Sunstein smiling at a desk with a book shelf in the background.

Cass R. Sunstein

Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard Law School
OIRA Administrator (Obama)

"The GW Regulatory Studies Center has done phenomenal work in cataloguing and analyzing reforms in regulatory policy...[it is] a national treasure."

 


 


Photo of Shawne McGibbon

Shawne McGibbon

General Counsel, ACUS
Graduate of GW Law

"The Regulatory Studies Center gives students hands on experience that I craved when I was in school. Programs like this are simply invaluable."




 


 


Photo of Senator James Lankford

James Lankford

United States Senator from Oklahoma

"I am grateful for the non-partisan expertise and information that I can trust from the GW Regulatory Studies Center."