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.
Our Latest Publications
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.
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.
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.
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‐duplicate 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.”
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The GW Regulatory Studies Center's cooperative agreements with the US Department of Agriculture analyze agricultural regulations in a series of reports.
Analyzing regulatory policy through annual budgets.
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