Advice for the Biden-Harris Administration

Embrace Regulatory Humility
January 7, 2021

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Time-tested regulatory practices can help ensure evidence-based policies take diverse perspectives and information into account.


The Biden administration can increase the likelihood that its ambitious regulatory agenda will actually achieve its goals by embracing regulatory humility. That requires a disciplined approach to understanding regulatory impacts and tradeoffs; maintaining practices that encourage accountability; a commitment to learning, feedback, and evaluation; an openness to diverse views and inputs; reliance on flexible regulatory tools; and an appreciation that even the most well-intentioned and intelligent regulators will lack essential information on how policies will work in practice. Agencies need to balance competing considerations, and conduct a holistic, evidence-based assessment of all regulatory impacts. The time-tested principles in President Clinton’s E.O. 12866 and President Obama’s E.O. 13563 show us how.

My Advice for the Biden-Harris Administration:Embrace Regulatory Humility.

Susan E. Dudley

Distinguished Professor of Practice
-- GW Trachtenberg School

1. Strive to understand regulatory impacts before regulating.
2. Equip the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to assure accountability.
3. Embrace learning, evaluation and measurement.
4. Be transparent and open to wisdom from diverse sources.
5. Regulate smarter.


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