Books & Reports

Academic books and long-term research projects published by Center scholars that advance the overall knowledge of various aspects of regulatory processes and policies.

Regulation: A Primer

Regulation: A Primer


This primer authored by Susan E. Dudley and Jerry Brito provides an overview of regulation, including theoretical frameworks for understanding regulation, constitutional underpinnings, the process of writing and enforcing different varieties of regulation, and analytical approaches to understanding regulatory effects.

Available for purchase on Amazon, or can be downloaded as a PDF.

This primer is also available in Korean as a (PDF).

이 프라이머는 한국어로도 제공됩니다.



ACUS logo.

Advising ACUS

Scholars at the GW Regulatory Studies Center haved frequently served as consultants to ACUS, producing the following reports.



Cover of the Regulators' Budget report which was published in October 2019. Regulators' Budget: Homeland Security Remains Key Administration Priority -- An Analysis of the U.S. Budget for Fiscal Years 1960 to 2020 by Mark Febrizio, Melinda Warren, and Susan Dudley. Published by the Regulatory Studies Center and the Weidenbaum Center.

Regulators' Budget Reports

Analyzing regulatory policy through annual budgets. An annual report by the GW Regulatory Studies Center and the Weidenbaum Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

A photo of a field of wheat with a text box in the foreground that reads The Relationship Between Regulatory Form and Productivity: An Empirical Application to Agriculture

Agriculture and Regulation

The GW Regulatory Studies Center's cooperative agreement with the US Department of Agriculture to analyze agricultural regulations.



Accounting for regulatory reform under Executive Order 13771, by Bridget Dooling, Mark Febrizio, and Daniel Pérez.

Accounting for Regulatory Reform Under Executive Order 13771

Executive Order (EO) 13771, known as the “regulatory two-for-one” EO, imposed new constraints on executive branch regulatory agencies, directing them to: (1) to cut two existing rules for each new rule issued and (2) offset any costs imposed by new rules while operating under a regulatory cost cap. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is responsible for implementing this EO and reporting on its progress. OMB has issued Regulatory Reform Reports for fiscal year (FY) 2017 and FY 2018. The fiscal year for 2019 ended recently on September 30, 2019. While we await the latest report, this article explains OMB’s current accounting methodology, gleaned from OMB’s guidance and other public documents, and highlights challenges of reporting agency performance in implementing EO 13771. It also contains our recommendations to improve the accuracy and accountability of both OMB’s annual reporting and individual agency actions.

Our article proceeds as follows. Part I details the OIRA guidance to agencies on what “counts” as an EO 13771 regulatory or deregulatory action. Part II describes OIRA’s accounting methodology for estimating agency cost savings. Part III elaborates on analytical concerns that flow from the administration’s current approach for estimating “counts” and “cost savings” and offers several recommendations for improving the content of agency actions and OIRA’s annual reporting on EO 13771.

Where are the Congressional Review Act disapprovals? by Bridget C.E. Dooling, Daniel R. Perez, and Steven J. Balla.

Where are the Congressional Review Act Disapprovals?

The stars are aligned for Democrats to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to disapprove federal agency regulations from the end of the Trump administration. But will they? With an April 4 deadline looming, members of Congress are running out of time to get the process started with the introduction of a resolution to disapprove a rule.

Several reasons have been offered to explain why no resolutions have been introduced yet. One common hypothesis is that this legislative tool is something Republicans use to overturn Democratic presidents’ rules, and not vice versa. Our new empirical research shows that Democrats, like Republicans, have introduced resolutions of disapproval under the CRA since it was enacted into law in 1996. The idea that Democrats do not use the CRA is incorrect and therefore does not help explain our current moment. We have to consider other explanations.




ABA AdLaw Section Book

Since 2018, Regulatory Studies Center scholars have co-authored the Rulemaking chapter of "Developments in Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice," an annual publication of the American Bar Association, Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section. Rulemaking is one of the five core chapters in this annual publication, which also features special topics. The chapter offers an annual summary of important judicial decisions, executive branch actions, and legislative activities in the rulemaking area.

2018 Edition (also available on SSRN)
Rulemaking Chapter
Authors: Michael J. Cole, Bridget C.E. Dooling, & Susan E. Dudley

2019 Edition
Rulemaking Chapter
Authors: Michael J. Cole & Bridget C.E. Dooling

2020 Edition (forthcoming)
Rulemaking Chapter
Authors: Bridget C.E. Dooling & Bethany Davis-Noll 


Structured to Fail? Regulatory Performance under Competing Mandates

Book cover of Christopher Carrigan's Structured to Fail? Regulatory Performance under Competing Mandates.


By: Christopher Carrigan, Ph.D.

In the search for explanations for three of the most pressing crises of the early twenty-first century (the housing meltdown and financial crisis, the Gulf oil spill, and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima), commentators pointed to the structure of the regulatory agencies charged with overseeing the associated industries, noting that the need to balance competing regulatory and non-regulatory missions undermined each agency's ability to be an effective regulator. Christopher Carrigan challenges this critique by employing a diverse set of research methods, including a statistical analysis, an in-depth case study of US regulatory oversight of offshore oil and gas development leading up to the Gulf oil spill, and a formal theoretical discussion, to systematically evaluate the benefits and concerns associated with either combining or separating regulatory and non-regulatory missions. His analysis demonstrates for policymakers and scholars why assigning competing non-regulatory missions to regulatory agencies can still be better than separating them in some cases.

Does Regulation Kill Jobs?

Book cover of Does Regulation Kill Jobs? which shows the food line statues at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in DC.


Edited by: Cary Coglianese, Adam M. Finkel, and Christopher Carrigan

As millions of Americans struggle to find work in the wake of the Great Recession, politicians from both parties look to regulation in search of an economic cure. Some claim that burdensome regulations undermine private sector competitiveness and job growth, while others argue that tough new regulations actually create jobs at the same time that they provide other benefits. Does Regulation Kill Jobs? reveals the complex reality of regulation that supports neither partisan view. Leading legal scholars, economists, political scientists, and policy analysts show that individual regulations can at times induce employment shifts across firms, sectors, and regions—but regulation overall is neither a prime job killer nor a key job creator. The challenge for policymakers is to look carefully at individual regulatory proposals to discern any job shifting they may cause and then to make regulatory decisions sensitive to anticipated employment effects. Drawing on their analyses, contributors recommend methods for obtaining better estimates of job impacts when evaluating regulatory costs and benefits. They also assess possible ways of reforming regulatory institutions and processes to take better account of employment effects in policy decision-making.

Does Regulation Kills Jobs? tackles what has become a heated partisan issue with exactly the kind of careful analysis policymakers need in order to make better policy decisions, providing insights that will benefit both politicians and citizens who seek economic growth as well as the protection of public health and safety, financial security, environmental sustainability, and other civic goals.


Bureaucracy & Democracy: Accountability & Performance

Bureaucracy and Democracy: Accountability and Performance book cover


By: Steven J. Balla & William T. Gormley, Jr.

In this book, we focus on bureaucratic accountability and performance. We aim to lay out just how bureaucracy is accountable, as well as to whom, under what circumstances, and with what results. In presenting these issues, we draw on insights from four prominent social scientific theories—bounded rationality, principal-agent theory, interest group mobilization, and network theory.

These perspectives provide alternatives to the usual practice of viewing bureaucracy through the lenses of partisanship and political ideology, which, while valid, often obscure our vision instead of sharpening it. Bounded rationality captures the pragmatic side of bureaucratic problem solving and bureaucracy’s remarkable capacity to make reasonably good decisions with limited time and information. Principal-agent theory highlights the challenges of delegation from politicians to bureaucrats and the difficulties of overseeing bureaucratic organizations. Interest group mobilization draws our attention to the important role societal organizations play, for better or for worse, in influencing bureaucratic policymaking, as well as the circumstances under which such organizations are most active and powerful. Network theory stresses relationships inside and outside government that cannot be reduced to hierarchical form. In a chapter on the politics of disaster management, we demonstrate the usefulness of these four theories in understanding the bureaucracy’s response to some of the most important challenges it faces, including terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and public health crises.


The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Public Policy and Administration



Co-edited by Steven J. Balla

This Handbook brings together a collection of leading international authors to reflect on the influence of central contributions, or classics, that have shaped the development of the field of public policy and administration.

The Handbook reflects on a wide range of key contributions to the field, selected on the basis of their international and wider disciplinary impact. Focusing on classics that contributed significantly to the field over the second half of the 20th century, it offers insights into works that have explored aspects of the policy process, of particular features of bureaucracy, and of administrative and policy reforms.

Each classic is discussed by a leading international scholars. They offer unique insights into the ways in which individual classics have been received in scholarly debates and disciplines, how classics have shaped evolving research agendas, and how the individual classics continue to shape contemporary scholarly debates. In doing so, this volume offers a novel approach towards considering the various central contributions to the field.

The Handbook offers students of public policy and administration state-of-the-art insights into the enduring impact of key contributions to the field.


Policy Shock: Recalibrating Risk and Regulation after Oil Spills, Nuclear Accidents and Financial Crises

Book cover of Policy Shock which shows a graphic depicting an explosion.


Essay by Christopher Carrigan

Policy Shock examines how policy-makers in industrialized democracies respond to major crises. After the immediate challenges of disaster management, crises often reveal new evidence or frame new normative perspectives that drive reforms designed to prevent future events of a similar magnitude. Such responses vary widely - from cosmetically masking inaction, to creating stronger incentive systems, requiring greater transparency, reorganizing government institutions and tightening regulatory standards. This book situates post-crisis regulatory policy-making through a set of conceptual essays written by leading scholars from economics, psychology and political science, which probe the latest thinking about risk analysis, risk perceptions, focusing events and narrative politics. It then presents ten historically-rich case studies that engage with crisis events in three policy domains: offshore oil, nuclear power and finance. It considers how governments can prepare to learn from crisis events - by creating standing expert investigative agencies to identify crisis causes and frame policy recommendations.



Image of a person writing Cost Benefit Analysis with a blue marker on a clear window.

Benefit-Cost Analysis & Emerging Technologies

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.

Image of the US and EU flags flying next to one another.

Reports on US-EU Regulatory Cooperation

By D. Pérez, S. Dudley, N. Eisner, R. Lutter, D. Zorn, N. Nord, and K. Wegrich

The GW Regulatory Studies Center prepared this report as part of a grant from the European Union to analyze regulatory cooperation between the EU and U.S. The report includes three case studies examining how cooperation has worked in practice between U.S. regulatory agencies and their EU counterparts and an analysis of U.S. regulations likely to have significant effects on international trade and investment. These analyses identify opportunities to reduce incompatible approaches while indicating areas where differences could persist due to issues of national sovereignty and structural differences between countries.

Graphic of a green house next to a scale that has stripes labeled A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, colored green to red.

One Standard to Rule Them All: The Disparate Impact of Energy Efficiency Regulations

Chapter by Sofie E. Miller and Brian F. Mannix

Federal regulations restrict the energy that everyday products can use, for everything from cars to microwaves. While these rules impose significant costs on consumers, the benefits are harder to identify. Agencies claim that restricting consumers’ choices provides consumers with large benefits, but this reasoning is hard to reconcile with the fact that consumers have many legitimate reasons to prefer the appliances they buy and the cars they drive. This chapter explores the reasoning behind energy efficiency regulations and why these reasons are insufficient to support the large costs they impose on consumers, especially low-income consumers.