Commentary Archive



Photo of Jonathan Adler

Revising WOTUS

April 16, 2019

4/16/19 -- The proposed revision to the definition of the “waters of the United States” is a significant improvement over prior definitions, including that adopted in 2015. If the definition contained in the final rule is similar to that which has been proposed, it is likely to provide greater legal certainty for the regulated community and is likely to be less vulnerable to legal challenge than were prior definitions.

Photo of Aryamala Prasad

Is GDPR the Right Model for the U.S.?

April 03, 2019

4/3/19 -- Recent discussions on online privacy regulation refer to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. It is often seen as a good model to follow for protecting personal data in the digital age. We apply a benefit-cost framework to understand its implications on this side of the Atlantic. Given the existing regulations, an evidence-based approach to identify net-benefits might offer a balanced approach to personal data protection.

Photo of Steve Balla & Zhoudan Xie

The Eagle and the Dragon: Comparing Government Consultation and Public Participation between the US and China

March 27, 2019

This commentary demonstrates an interesting comparison in government consultation and public participation between the US and China. It shows that the US and China appear to have little variation in consultation procedures and participation levels, but major divergence in the level of transparency and the type of stakeholders who participate.

Julie Balla

Regulatory Sludge: Reducing Paperwork Burdens to Preserve Our Time

March 20, 2019

3/20/19 - Cass Sunstein spoke at the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference & Meeting on March 15th, graduate assistant Julie Balla summarizes his remarks which included a call to action to tackle both the stock and flow of paperwork burdens.

Susan Dudley & Daniel Pérez

Policy Analysis for Uncertain Futures

March 13, 2019

3/13/19 -- Policymakers face demands to act today to protect against a wide range of future risks, and to do so without impeding economic growth. Yet traditional analytical tools may not be adequate to frame the relevant uncertainties and tradeoffs. Challenges such as climate change, nuclear war, and widespread natural disasters don’t lend themselves to decision rules designed for discrete policy questions and marginal analyses. We refer to such issues as “uncertain futures.”

More flexible and dynamic decision-analysis approaches that anticipate the need to learn from experience (and that encourage learning) are essential. Developing a body of research that cuts across disciplines to introduce better tools for anticipating and examining uncertain future risks can lead to policies that lower the probabilities and mitigate the consequences of these uncertain futures while encouraging economic growth and increasing resilience. To this end, the GW Regulatory Studies Center commissioned four papers from leading experts in different fields.

Photo of Bridget Dooling

The Shutdown's Rulemaking Ramifications

March 05, 2019

3/5/19 -- Bridget C.E. Dooling explains how the longest government shutdown in history exposed aspects of the rulemaking process that usually go unseen. She also signals that long shutdowns imperil deregulatory initiatives, which need Federal workers to implement them.

Photo of Daniel Pérez

The Government Shutdown's Effect on Regulatory Output

February 06, 2019

2/6/19 -- This commentary presents data illustrating a substantial reduction in regulatory activity during the government shutdown. Interestingly, despite the end of the shutdown on January 25, the regulatory pace has not yet returned to prior levels. This stall in regulatory output has substantial implications for President Trump’s deregulatory agenda. Since regulations take months to years to move through the notice-and-comment process, the administration may be running short on time to get through the items on the president’s agenda.

Photo of Jerry Ellig

Electric Utility Competition — In South Carolina?

January 28, 2019

1/28/19 - Research professor Jerry Ellig participated in an educational forum hosted by the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce to discuss his research on electric utility market competition. This commentary provides a summary of Ellig's presentation, and an overview of the reform ideas presented by his co-panelists.

Photo of Jerry Ellig

Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on State Alcohol Protectionism This Month

January 09, 2019

1/9/19 - Next week the US Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of a Tennessee law that requires individuals to live in the state for two years before they can obtain a permit to sell alcohol. I signed onto an amicus brief by law and economics scholars that explains why this law is a paradigmatic example of protectionist legislation that provides concentrated benefits to well-organized groups while dispersing the costs among a much larger group -- consumers.

Photo of Mark Febrizio

Canada's Fall Economic Statement Highlights Regulatory Reform

December 21, 2018

12/21/18 - In November 2018, Canada released its Fall Economic Statement 2018, which addresses a number of regulatory reform initiatives. The document is a broad review of the progress Canada has made on government commitments, an evaluation of the country’s recent economic record, and a discussion of forward-looking initiatives focused on economic growth and innovation. As we look ahead to 2019, Canada’s report includes regulatory modernization efforts that may translate to the U.S. context.

Photo of Brian Mannix

The Gopher Frog and Justice Alito’s Unanswered Question

December 12, 2018

12/12/18 - In reaching its unanimous decision last month that the Fish and Wildlife Service had overreached in designating “critical habitat” for the endangered Dusky Gopher Frog, the Supreme Court dodged an important question that Justice Alito had posed during oral argument: Who should pay for the preservation of this public good?

Bryce Chinault

#GivingTuesday: Why You Should Support the GW Regulatory Studies Center

November 27, 2018

11/27/18 - The GW Regulatory Studies Center is the hub for rigorous, applied academic research in regulatory policy. Our scholars are the leading experts in their field of study. We regularly interact with key bipartisan leaders across the federal government, thought leaders in academia, popular news outlets, and the apex of industry. And we have big plans for the future.

Photo of Jerry Ellig

Now Available: A Concise Explanation of the FCC’s Economic Analysis on Net Neutrality

November 19, 2018

11/19/18 - Understanding the FCC's economic thinking behind its Restoring Internet Freedom order, which repealed and replaced Net Neutrality, has not been easy to decipher for anyone interested in the subject. In this commentary, and a brand new journal entry, research professor and former FCC chief economist Jerry Ellig provides a concise explanation of the agency's rationale behind the order, and points out its previous disregard for economic analysis.

Photo of Mark Febrizio

Proposed SAFE Rule Could Improve Net Benefits of CAFE Standards

November 12, 2018

11/12/18 - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Enviornmental Protection Agency are evaluating comments on their proposed Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule that sets Corporate Average Fuel Economy and carbon dioxide emission standards. Policy analyst Mark Febrizio summarizes a comment on the proposed rule submitted by Julian Morris on behalf of the GW Regulatory Studies Center, which argued that the proposal will save billions of dollars in economic costs, potentially decrease traffic fatalities, and is unlikely to have a significant negative effect on the environment.

Photo of Jerry Ellig

FCC Clears Last Hurdles to Creation of Economics Office

October 25, 2018

10/25/18 - The Federal Communications Commission has just announced approval for it to organize an Office of Economics and Analytics. Jerry Ellig - former FCC chief economist and current Regulatory Studies Center research professor - discusses what that means for the independent agency's rulemaking process.