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.

US and EU

Agricultural Statistics: Transatlantic Agriculture & Regulation Working Paper Series: No. 1

September 20, 2017

By S. Dudley, L. Holmes, P. Linquiti, B. Mannix, D. Pérez, A. Prasad & Z. Xie
As part of a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center produced a five-chapter report on regulatory differences between the United States (U.S.) and the European Union (EU) and their effects on agricultural productivity. This chapter provides an overview of key statistical comparisons between the agricultural sectors of the U.S. and the EU. It highlights key economic indicators, describes the role that agriculture plays in each economy, and illustrates differences in each jurisdiction’s respective factor endowments and trade patterns.

JBCA cover

Consumer’s Guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis: Ten Tips for Being an Informed Policymaker

August 02, 2017

By S. Dudley, R. Belzer, G. Blomquist, T. Brennan, C. Carrigan, J. Cordes, L. Cox, A. Fraas, J. Graham, G. Gray, J. Hammitt, K. Krutilla, P. Linquiti, R. Lutter, B. Mannix, S. Shapiro, A. Smith, W. .Viscusi & R. Zerbe in the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis
Regulatory impact analyses (RIAs) weigh the benefits of regulations against the burdens they impose and are invaluable tools for informing decision makers. We offer 10 tips for nonspecialist policymakers and interested stakeholders who will be reading RIAs as consumers.

stethoscope

U.S. Health Care Reform: Universal Insurance or Affordable Care?

July 03, 2017

By Don W. King, M.D., J.D., Visiting Scholar
Originally published in June 2010. The U.S. leads the world in medical innovation and likely leads the world in quality of care. However, U.S health insurance and medical care are very expensive and Americans may be spending more on health care than is necessary to achieve the highest quality. This paper recommends a healthcare reform approach that emphasizes the importance of each individual owning the funds used for his or her health care and choosing both insurance and care from many available options. By providing more appropriate incentives and making care more affordable, greater individual ownership and more options should lead to fewer excess expenditures and to greater access to care for most people.

Policy scrabble tiles

Improving Regulatory Science: A Case Study of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards

June 30, 2017

By Susan E. Dudley & Marcus Peacock
This paper explores the motivations and institutional incentives of participants involved in the development of regulation aimed at reducing health risks, with a goal of understanding and identifying solutions to what the Bipartisan Policy Center has characterized as “a tendency to frame regulatory issues as debates solely about science, regardless of the actual subject in dispute, [that] is at the root of the stalemate and acrimony all too present in the regulatory system today.” This analysis is focused on a case study of the procedures for developing National Ambient Air Quality Standards under the Clean Air Act, and attempts to identify procedural approaches that bring greater diversity into the decision process.

ABA

Putting a Cap on Regulation

June 30, 2017

By Susan E. Dudley
In this Administrative & Regulatory Law News article, Dudley provides a rundown of what President Trump’s two cross-cutting regulatory executive orders do, and how far they might go towards “deconstruction of the administrative state.” She concludes that while regulations cannot be overturned as quickly as the president might like, his orders have the potential to impose some discipline on regulatory agencies, generate a constructive debate on the real impacts of regulations, and ultimately lead to more cost-effective achievement of public priorities.