Commentary Archive

Photo of Neil Eisner

The Life and Times of Executive Order 12866

October 09, 2018

10/9/18 - Neil Eisner, former Assistant General Counsel for Regulation and Enforcement, Dept. of Transportation, comments on the initial implementation and adoption of Executive Order 12866, highlights four significant accomplishments it has had within the rulemaking process, and offers a few lessons learned.

Image of Susan Dudley

The Future of E.O. 12866: Embracing Regulatory Humility

October 05, 2018

10/5/18 - Susan Dudley, former OIRA Administrator, discusses how Executive Order 12866 has lead to bipartisan consensus of regulatory principles, reviews the ongoing effects of this 25-year-old rulemaking process, and why it is likely to continue to make a significant difference well into the future.

Clark Nardinelli

Praising the Principles in Executive Order 12866

October 03, 2018

Clark Nardinelli, Chief Economist at FDA and Vice President of the Society for Benefit Cost Analysis, comments on the philosophy underlying E.O. 12866 and the 12 principles of good regulation. He recently participated in the "Looking Back on 25 Years" panel at the Regulatory Studies Center forum celebrating 25 Years of E.O. 12866.

Bridget Dooling

Reflections on the E.O. 12866 Anniversary Event from a Bureaucrat Turned Academic

October 02, 2018

Bridget Dooling is a research professor at the GW Regulatory Studies Center. She moderated the "Looking Back on 25 Years" panel, and in this commentary she shares her key take-aways as well as her overall impressions of the event, informed by her tenure in OIRA.

Shawne McGibbon

Congressional Views on the Bipartisan Principles of E.O. 12866

October 02, 2018

10/2/18 - Shawne McGibbon (General Counsel, Administrative Conference of the United States) comments on the refreshing bipartisan discussions around E.O. 12866 and how legislative vehicles can codify the E.O.'s requirements.

Sally Katzen

Tracing Executive Order 12866’s Longevity to its Roots - Katzen

October 01, 2018

10/1/18 - Sally Katzen (OIRA Administrator with President Clinton) reflects on how Executive Order 12866 came into existence and lays down the foundation for why it has thrived over the past 25 years of bipartisan administrations.

Zoey & Mark

Future of Regulation: Challenges and Opportunities from Emerging Technology

September 19, 2018

9/19/18 - On September 12, the GW Regulatory Studies Center co-hosted an event with the Deloitte Center for Government Insights and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration on the Future of Regulation. Experts from government agencies, think tanks, private sector companies, and universities discussed how emerging technologies are impacting traditional regulatory systems. This commentary highlights key themes from the event, including the importance of regulatory humility, the alternative regulatory tools available to agencies, opportunities for regulators to improve outcomes and compliance, and the challenges associated with regulating emerging technologies.

Zhoudan Xie

“Behavioural Government:” Implications for Regulator Behavior

September 05, 2018

9/5/18 - Building on a new report published by the Behavioural Insights Team in the UK, this commentary discusses behavioral biases of regulators. Although we usually talk about “nudging” to correct irrational choices of individual citizens, recent research demonstrates a willingness to challenge the assumption that policymakers have a better grasp on individuals’ optimal choices than the individuals themselves. This commentary explores this idea in the U.S. context, focusing on regulators’ behavior. It compares private and public decision makers, and illustrates the importance of applying behavioral insights to public decision making.

Mark Febrizio

Better Data Collection Would Improve Analysis of NEPA Regulations

August 29, 2018

8/29/18 - CEQ is considering revisions to its implementing rules for NEPA. This offers an opportunity for CEQ to align its NEPA regulations with regulatory best practices and improve data collection for conducting retrospective review. Better data collection would improve evaluation of the effectiveness of NEPA implementation. Data should be comparable across time and agencies and made publicly available. Agencies like DOE have already demonstrated that it is possible to collect and report such data, even if the methods of conveying the information to the public could be improved.

Susan E. Dudley

EPA Proposes Replacement for Obama’s Signature Climate Initiative

August 22, 2018

8/22/18 - On August 21, 2018, EPA proposed its replacement for the Clean Power Plan that the Supreme Court stayed in 2016. The new “Affordable Clean Energy” (ACE) rule is dramatically different from the Obama-era Clean Power Plan; it focuses on increasing efficiency and providing states more flexibility, rather than shifting power generation away from coal and fossil fuels. Dudley reviews the legal and analytical background for the rule and observes that market forces will likely cause greenhouse gas emissions to continue to decline.


Regulatory Sandboxes: The future of regulation?

August 01, 2018

8/2/18 - On June 19, 2018, the Deloitte Center for Government Insights published an article on The Future of Regulation: Principles for Regulating Emerging Technologies. In it, William D. Eggers, Mike Turley, and Pankaj Kishnani lay out the business and technological challenges of regulating today’s technologies. The article offers five principles for regulating emerging technologies: adaptive regulation, outcome-based regulation, risk-weighted regulation, collaborative regulation, and regulatory sandboxes. This commentary explores regulatory sandboxes, a concept borrowed from the tech sector and first implemented in the United Kingdom.

Mark & Samantha

FCC Process Reform Underscores Need for Economic Review at Independent Regulatory Agencies

July 24, 2018

7/24/18 - Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael O'Rielly recently made the case for the agency to provide more detailed benefit-cost analyses, and to establish better internal processes aimed at improving regulatory outcomes - other independent agencies should take note.

Lisa Zimmer

DHS Proposes Raising Barriers to Foreign Entrepreneurship in the U.S.

July 16, 2018

7/16/18 - The Department of Homeland Security is proposing to eliminate its international entrepreneur program, which was created in 2017, despite the agency's previous findings that the program will increase economic growth, job creation, and U.S. based innovation. The proposal also runs contrary to the administration's declared policy of shifting towards a more merit-based immigration system, decreasing regulatory costs, and demonstrated early success from the program.

Julie Balla

Regulators’ Budget: OIRA’s Growth and the Future of Regulatory Reform

July 09, 2018

7/9/18 - As OIRA continues to oversee the Trump Administration's efforts to cut regulatory red tape, the growing scope of OIRA's regulatory review could mean increases in staffing and funding. A look at this year's Regulators' Budget shows a larger OIRA staff than years past, a signal that growing responsibilities might require more resources in the future.

GW Reg Studies Logo

FDA's Proposal to Regulate Nicotine Levels

June 25, 2018

6/25/18 - In a comment filed on the advanced notice, David Zorn observes that FDA’s plan to develop a maximum nicotine level for cigarettes in hopes to establish a standard that doesn't initiate or perpetuate addiction to cigarettes for potential smokers is a novel and creative approach to promote public health. Although such an approach was suggested decades ago, it has not been implemented in any other country. The plan is creative because, rather than attempting to regulate the hazards out of a product that some consumers demand, the policy would reduce the appeal of a product that is laden with hazards. However, the plan is speculative and unproven, and some tests of its underlying hypothesis cast some doubt on its likelihood of success.