What's New from the GW Regulatory Studies Center

4/18/18 - NPR, Senate Votes To Roll Back Rules Aimed At Fair Auto Lending For Minorities, quoting Susan E. Dudley

4/18/18 - Regulation Digest, Vol. 7, No. 16

4/16/18 - Reviewers and Revenooers Reach Compromise, by Susan E. Dudley

4/12/18 - Politico, Mulvaney prevails in turf battle over tax regs, citing Susan E. Dudley

4/11/18 - The Hill, IRS rulemaking should follow HHS model, by Susan E. Dudley

4/11/18 - Regulation Digest, Vol. 7, No. 15

4/10/18 - Embracing Ossification: Trump and the Shifting Politics of Procedural Controls, by Stuart Shapiro

4/9/18 - Public Comment on OMB's 2017 Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations, by Brian F. Mannix, Sofie E. Miller, & Susan E. Dudley

4/4/18 - Regulation Digest, Vol. 7, No. 14

4/2/18 - Where's the Spam? Mass Comment Campaigns in Agency Rulemaking, working paper by Steven J. Balla, Alexander R. Beck, William C. Cubbison, & Aryamala Prasad

@RegStudies

New Commentaries from the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center

Research

Recent working papers and published articles from Center scholars
OMB logo

Public Comment on OMB's 2017 Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations

April 09, 2018

By: Brian F. Mannix, Sofie E. Miller, & Susan E. Dudley
The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center improves regulatory policy through research, education, and outreach. As part of its mission, the GW Regulatory Studies Center conducts careful and independent analyses to assess rulemaking proposals from the perspective of the public interest. This comment on the Office of Management and Budget’s 2017 Draft Report to Congress offers suggestions for improving the information value of the Report, as well as the evidence on which regulatory policies depend, and does not represent the views of any particular affected party or special interest.

Spam

Where's the Spam? Mass Comment Campaigns in Agency Rulemaking

April 02, 2018

By: Steven J. Balla, Alexander R. Beck, William C. Cubbison, & Aryamala Prasad
This article examines the occurrence and nature of mass comment campaigns in rulemaking at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) between 2012 and 2016. The analysis demonstrates that campaigns of more duplicate or near-duplicate comments occur across issue areas under EPA jurisdictions, and that broad societal constituencies—such as environmentalists—are more active in sponsoring campaigns than specific interests negatively affected by stringent regulations. These findings in some respects confirm and in other respects challenge existing understandings of mass comment campaign participation in administrative rulemaking.

agency org chart

Organization, Process, and Agency Rulemaking

March 09, 2018

By Christopher Carrigan & Russell Mills
In this working paper, Christopher Carrigan and Russell Mills demonstrate how variation in the design of rulemaking procedures inside regulatory agencies affects the resulting rules. By employing a novel dataset tracking job functions of agency rule contacts for over 200 economically significant rules, the authors find that expanding the breadth of personnel types closely involved in a rulemaking reduces both the time it takes to promulgate the rule and the resulting detail with which it is presented. This work demonstrates how theories describing the implications of assigning team participants distinct roles in private organizations translate to government rulemaking.

DOE

Public Comment on Reforming DOE's "Process Rule" for Energy Efficiency Standards

March 02, 2018

By Sofie E. Miller
In response to the Department of Energy request for public comment on the proposed modifications to its "Process Rule," Sofie E. Miller filed recommendations regarding improvements to direct final rulemaking, retrospective review, and the analysis that supports the Department's rules.

coal

Public Comment on EPA's Proposed Rule: State Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Electric Utility Generating Units

February 27, 2018

Brian Mannix filed a Public Interest Comment with EPA, recommending four features that the agency should incorporate into a possible replacement for the agency’s Clean Power Plan. First, the agency should set standards for CO2 intensity, rather than a mass-based cap on CO2 emissions. Second, the standards should be tiered by technology. Third, the agency should allow trading of CO2 credits, both within and across technology categories. Fourth, the agency should incorporate a safety valve mechanism that keeps the price of CO2 credits commensurate with the domestic social cost of carbon. Such a rule could function as a “last-ton tax,” with many of the economic efficiencies of a carbon tax, but without exceeding the boundaries of EPA’s regulatory authority.

The Hastings Report

Benefit-Cost Analysis and Emerging Technologies

February 22, 2018

By Brian F. Mannix
The Hastings Center has published “Benefit-Cost Analysis and Emerging Technologies,” by RSC’s Brian Mannix, as part of a special report funded by the National Science Foundation. The full report explores the governance of newly developed techniques in bioengineering – such as the ability to modify a species in the wild, or render it (a mosquito, for example) extinct. Mannix argues that, properly understood, benefit-cost analysis is an appropriate technique for determining which actions are in the public interest. He also cautions against a “precautionary” approach that would shift the burden onto new technologies to demonstrate safety before they can be used.

magnifying glass

A Proposed Framework for Evidence-Based Regulation

February 22, 2018

By Marcus Peacock, Sofie E. Miller, & Daniel R. Pérez
Policymakers and scholars have given serious thought to how evidence-based approaches can improve policymaking, but using evidence to improve regulatory outcomes requires a separate framework than the one currently in use. This paper details how the regulatory process differs from other federal policymaking and establishes a framework for evidence-based regulation (EBR) to improve regulatory outcomes by planning for, collecting, and using evidence throughout the life a regulation. The authors discuss the main barriers that regulatory agencies face in implementing an EBR approach and advance concrete proposals for overcoming these barriers.

SRA logo

Book Review of Andrew W. Lo's "Review of Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought"

February 08, 2018

By Susan E. Dudley
What drives our responses to risk and uncertainty, and how can we improve them? In his 2017 book, Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought, MIT Sloan finance professor Andrew Lo answers that question using evolutionary concepts and insights, including competition, innovation, reproduction, and adaptation.

Index of Economic Freedom 2017

International Regulatory Indexes at a Glance

January 29, 2018

By Zhoudan Xie
This Regulatory Insight provides an overview of how regulation is measured and compared across countries, compares the available measures, and examines where the U.S. stands relative to other countries. Internationally-comparable measures of regulation are mostly constructed through the composite index approach. This Insight reviews five international regulatory indexes measuring economic freedom, business/competition friendliness, and social regulation. The indexes differ significantly in terms of the coverage of regulation, methodologies and data. Even indexes measuring the same dimension of regulation can present different results, depending on the specific variables and data chosen.

President Trump signing EO

2017 Regulatory Year in Review

December 18, 2017

By Zhoudan Xie & Sofie E. Miller

This Regulatory Insight highlights ten important regulatory and deregulatory themes that garnered attention—and changed the regulatory landscape—in 2017. Regulatory policy was a focal point of 2017, and notable executive orders, rulemaking, and legislation all contributed to this theme--including the Congressional Review Act, net neutrality, the President's deregulatory agenda, and more.

Internet privacy

Measuring Costs and Benefits of Privacy Controls: Conceptual Issues and Empirical Estimates

November 06, 2017

By Joseph J. Cordes, Co-Director & Daniel R. Pérez, Policy Analyst
As personal information becomes increasingly available to internet providers, the government, and employers, a lively debate has emerged about the role of public policy in ensuring a proper balance between parties who benefit from greater access to information and the protection of individual rights to privacy. Additionally, emerging technologies such as highly automated vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems bring privacy concerns to the forefront—particularly regarding the proper role of federal regulatory agencies. Agency rulemaking requires a thorough analysis of regulatory benefits and costs. Our paper hopes to contribute to the development and greater use of empirical measures of consumer privacy.

Corn production

Regulatory Impact on Corn Farming: Transatlantic Agriculture & Regulation Working Paper Series: No. 5

October 24, 2017

By Daniel R. Pérez, Aryamala Prasad, & Zhoudan Xie
The final chapter of the five part series with the USDA and the GW Regulatory Studies Center examines the impact of environmental and food safety regulations on corn production in the U.S. and EU. Using France and Spain as case studies to illustrate the differences that result from EU member states’ translation and implementation of agricultural regulations at the country level, the chapter identifies and discusses regulations affecting corn production and estimates the economic impact of each regulation at the farm level. The use of a typical farm approach demonstrates relative differences in outcomes for farms among different jurisdictions.

pesticides spray

Water Pollution from Agriculture: Transatlantic Agriculture & Regulation Working Paper Series: No. 4

October 12, 2017

By Peter Linquiti & Zhoudan Xie
Part four of the five part series with the USDA and the GW Regulatory Studies Center analyzes how the U.S. and EU regulate water pollution from agriculture. Linquiti and Xie first review the core environmental problem—the process by which nutrient pollution occurs and the adverse environmental and human health consequences it causes. It also provides an overview of the institutions and policy frameworks that shape water quality polices and proceeds by characterizing the specific policy instruments used in the U.S. and the EU to implement these policy frameworks.

US and EU trade

Transatlantic Approaches to Agriculture Policy: Transatlantic Agriculture & Regulation Working Paper Series: No. 3

October 04, 2017

By Susan E. Dudley, Lydia Holmes, Daniel R. Pérez, Aryamala Prasad, & Zhoudan Xie
Part three of the five part series with the USDA and the GW Regulatory Studies Center presents several notable differences in policy approaches towards agriculture between the U.S. and EU. It first provides an overview of the U.S. and EU procedures for developing and implementing regulation and how they differ. It then describes how the jurisdictions approach regulation affecting the agricultural sector. Finally, it discusses and compares five areas of agricultural policy in each jurisdiction: (i) agri-environmental regulations, (ii) organic farming, (iii) genetically modified organisms, (iv) pesticides, and (v) fertilizers.

Agriculture trade

Agricultural Productivity and the Impact of Regulation: Transatlantic Agriculture & Regulation Working Paper Series: No. 2

September 26, 2017

By Aryamala Prasad & Zhoudan Xie
Part two of the five part series with the USDA and the GW Regulatory Studies Center focuses on the impact of agricultural policy, specifically regulation, in influencing agricultural productivity across jurisdictions. It begins by tracing agricultural growth in the EU and U.S. to illustrate their respective trends for agricultural productivity. Then, drawing from the literature, it identifies measures and methodologies used to estimate the impact of regulation on productivity. Finally, it outlines important differences regarding how regulations can affect agricultural productivity and other measures of agricultural performance such as output and production costs in the EU and the U.S.