10 Years of Going Back to School

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By: Bryce Chinault

August 26, 2019

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At the George Washington University, the buzz of new and returning students, faculty, and staff signals the beginning of a new school year.  The Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration has welcomed a new director, Mary Tschirhart, and the school’s 350+ plus students will be learning from some of the leading academics in the country. This semester also marks an important milestone for the Regulatory Studies Center.

A Decade of Improving Policy

Established during the fall 2009 semester, the Regulatory Studies Center has been pursuing its mission to improve regulatory policy through research, education, and outreach for nearly a decade. The Center’s founder, Susan Dudley, had wrapped up a term as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) earlier in the year, and joined the GW community as a Research Professor. Equipped with a vision, a career’s worth of expertise, and some funding commitments, she launched the Center with the hope that it could grow into an applied research hub that would create opportunities for students, connect and engage faculty across the university, and make a positive difference in public policy.

From these humble origins the Center has grown into an impressive team with 2 co-directors, 3 policy analysts, 4 research professors, multiple senior scholars, several graduate research assistants, and staff responsible for communications and operations. The Center’s scholars have testified before Congress, published widely cited books and academic articles, been interviewed by leading national media outlets, and helped train and educate GW students.

In just the past few months the Center has submitted testimony to both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, been cited or published in Bloomberg, NPR, Forbes, and the Washington Post, and submitted public interest comments on proposed rules from the Internal Revenue Service, Food & Drug Administration, and Department of Energy.

Research

The Center’s research is published in a range of outlets and covers a wide array of topics. Our short form Commentaries and Insights offer succinct analysis on the current policy landscape. Our Public Interest Comments elucidate the benefits and costs of proposed rules. Our Reg Stats page provides data on regulations and charts to visualize the data across agencies and administrations. Our op-eds help enhance the general public’s understanding of the rulemaking process. Our journal articles advance theory, research, and practice in regulatory policy.

Education

Our faculty members educate students who regularly go on to become leaders in their field of study. Students who participate in Susan Dudley’s Regulatory Comment Clinic learn the ins and outs of engaging in the rulemaking process. Codirector Chris Carrigan’s students learn about the economics of public decision-making, Codirector Joe Cordes’ understand the nuances of benefit-cost analysis, and Professor Steve Balla’s gain insights into the politics of regulation.

Our Center also sponsors fellowships for GW students to gain invaluable experience in government, offers internships for students to enhance their professional skills, and hosts graduate research assistants who hone their research abilities collaborating with senior staff. Individuals who have participated in these programs have gone on to work in key roles at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Department of Energy, Department of the Treasury, Department of Justice, Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, and the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as state and local governments and the private sector.

Outreach

As an applied research center, we also engage with policymakers and leading intellectuals to shape a better tomorrow. Last year we hosted a forum that featured OIRA administrators from the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump Administrations, bipartisan senior congressional staff, and an ideologically diverse set of academics to discuss the merits of key regulatory policies like Executive Order 12866. Our scholars are regularly called upon by other organizations, including the Administrative Conference of the United States, Brookings Institution, Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis, Federalist Society, and American Bar Association, to add valued insights on the most important questions in regulatory policy.

Our weekly newsletter, the Regulation Digest, reaches thousands of subscribers with its synthesis of a wide array of research from think tanks and other research centers, news and opinions from major media outlets, and key rulemaking activities from federal agencies. Our social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook keep our followers up-to-date with our latest insights and on today’s most pressing regulatory issues.

The Decade Ahead

The Regulatory Studies Center’s first decade has been full of growth and excitement. Over the next decade, we intend to take that momentum and expand our ability to meet the increasing demand for non-partisan, objective research. Recent staff additions of former FCC chief economist Jerry Ellig and OIRA deputy branch chief Bridget Dooling have enhanced our ability to make a positive difference at the dynamic intersection of policymaking and education. We appreciate your support and collaboration as we continue working to improve regulatory policy through research, education, and outreach.

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