Learning from Experience: Retrospective Review of Regulations in 2014

November 4, 2015

Sofie E. Miller

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Through a series of Executive Orders, President Obama has encouraged federal regulatory agencies to review existing regulations “that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned.” Evaluating whether the intended outcomes of regulations are met ex post can be challenging, so multiple government guidelines instruct agencies to incorporate retrospective review plans into their proposals during the rulemaking process. To support this effort, the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center examined significant regulations proposed in 2014 to assess whether they included plans for retrospective review, and provided recommendations for how best to do so. This paper finds that, despite these guidelines, agencies are not planning prospectively for ex post analysis of their rules and provides agencies with three recommendations to facilitate transparency, public accountability, and measurement of their rules’ success.