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. Our COVID-19 and Regulation page provides resources that we consider helpful in understanding these changes. Learn more about the Columbian College's response and guidance on the CCAS COVID-19 Resources and Updates page.
Our Latest Publications
The Discounting Dilemma -- August 6, 2020
By: Brian F. Mannix
OMB’s guidance on regulatory analysis directs agencies to evaluate regulatory benefits and costs using two standard discount rates, 3 percent and 7 percent, but it gives little insight on how to use them other than to try both. The initial draft of OMB’s first such guidance, published in 1988, did include specific instructions on how to use two rates simultaneously, but those instructions were deleted in the editing process. This Regulatory Insight recreates those original instructions, and explains how they help to resolve many misunderstandings about discounting that have developed since then.
EPA's Benefit-Cost Analysis -- August 4, 2020
By: Brian F. Mannix
Research professor Mannix's comment focuses on three aspects of the NPRM. Part I responds to EPA’s question about the legal authority for the NPRM, and suggests that the agency examine several broader sources of authority in addition to the CAA. Part II affirms the general principle that EPA should consider – consistent with the agency’s legal jurisdiction – the full range of benefits and costs that flow from its decisions, and it points out some of the “boundary drawing” challenges, including co-benefits, that can distort the results of a BCA. Part III explores a longstanding problem with the way discounting is done in Regulatory Impact Analysis, and proposes a correction. The discounting problem originates in OMB Circular A-4; but, while it is doing housekeeping on its BCA procedures, EPA should take this opportunity to engage with OMB and try to correct it.
Benefit-Cost Analysis at the EPA -- August 4, 2020
By: Joseph J. Cordes
Professor Cordes comments on three issues raised in the proposed EPA rule: (1) the discussion of the estimation of regulatory costs and benefits by means of partial equilibrium vs. general equilibrium analysis; (2) the role and presentation of primary and secondary effects (e.g. co-benefits) in benefit cost analysis; and (3) whether and the extent to which the benefits and costs experienced by international stakeholders should be included in estimating the social benefits and the social costs of domestic regulations.
Regulators' Budget: Overall Spending and Staffing Remain Stable -- July 28, 2020
By: Mark Febrizio & Melinda Warren
This report is a joint effort of the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy at Washington University in St. Louis and the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center. This report is one in a series designed to enhance the understanding of the impact of federal regulation on society.
Regulatory Impact Analysis for Financial Regulations -- July 21, 2020
By: Jerry Ellig
Financial regulatory agencies can produce useful economic analysis to inform regulatory decisions if they keep three principles in mind: (1) Focus on regulatory impact analysis (RIA), not just benefit-cost analysis (BCA); (2) The analysis is not the decision; and (3) Build institutional capacity to support objective analysis.
The Durability of Regulatory Oversight -- July 20, 2020
By: Susan Dudley
The article, published in the Regulation & Governance journal, reflects on OIRA's evolution over the almost 40 years since the Paperwork Reduction Act created it in 1980 to understand what has made it so durable, and concludes with recommendations for allowing OIRA's roles and practices to evolve while retaining the core functions that have received bipartisan support.
By: Laura Stanley
Executive Order 13891 requires agencies to take actions to promote transparency and public participation in the development of certain guidance documents. Last month, some federal agencies hit a tight deadline set out in the executive order, while other agencies lag behind.
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.
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What We're Working On
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.
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!
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