Regulation 101


Image of the U.S. Rulemaking Process depicting the various roles that the three branches of the federal government and the general public participate and interact with one another.

Regulation is one of the most important tools at the federal government’s disposal for achieving policy goals, yet the process by which regulation is developed--and the effects regulations have on society--are not well understood. This page provides links to books, websites, and journals that focus on regulation, as well as a few of the seminal articles on regulatory theory and practice. Download our Guide to Stakeholder Participation in US Regulation.



Regulation: A Primer

Dudley, Susan E. and Jerry Brito. 

This primer 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.



Structured to Fail?Structured to Fail? 

Christopher Carrigan

This innovative book represents the most definitive treatment of the opportunities and challenges involved in structuring the missions and jurisdictions of government agencies.



A Guide to Federal Agency Rulemaking 
Jeffrey S. Lubbers

This concise yet thorough legal resource published by the American Bar Association describes the regulatory process, and the legislation and case law that drive regulation today.




Prophets of Regulation 
Thomas K. McCraw

This highly readable Pulitzer-prize winning book tells the story of four fascinating individuals who influenced the shape of regulation today – Charles Francis Adams, Louis D. Brandeis, James M. Landis, and Alfred E. Kahn.




Analyzing Policy: Choices, Conflicts, and Practice 
Michael C. Munger

This thoughtful book provides a comprehensive introduction to the principles of public-policy analysis. It not only helps students learn the conceptual foundations of policy analysis, but it also helps them understand the conflicts between markets, democracy, and experts in political decision making.



The Regulators: Anonymous Power Brokers in American Politics 
Cindy Skrzycki

The author’s goal in writing the book was to "take a complicated and sometimes inscrutable topic and make it a comprehensible, important lesson in government," and she succeeds. Punctuated by stories from her weekly Washington Post column of the same title, The Regulators addresses the more personal side of regulation: who are these anonymous power brokers determining the legal size of holes in Swiss cheese or the definition of a breath mint? By whom are they influenced and how ubiquitous is their influence in our daily lives?


Economics of Regulation and Antitrust

Kip Viscusi, et al.

This comprehensive text helps readers understand regulation and its role through an economic lens. Widely used in courses on business and government, the text also covers the related field of antitrust policy.


Business and Government in the Global Marketplace
Murray L. Weidenbaum

Written by one of the pioneers of regulatory analysis, this book examines the relationship between the public and private sectors from both government and business perspectives, covering why and how government intervenes in the economy and how business can respond.






Regulation Magazine – “With contributions from the nation's top economists, policy analysts, and legal experts, Regulation guarantees the objective, in-depth analysis you need to stay on top of regulatory and economic policymaking in Washington, D.C.”




The Yale Journal on Regulation – “The Yale Journal on Regulation is a law journal that publishes in-depth scholarly articles by professors and legal practitioners twice a year, on a rich array of topics…”





 The Journal of Benefit Cost Analysis – Starting in Summer 2010, the “Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis (JBCA) uniquely focuses on the theory and practice of benefit-cost analysis and related evaluation methods. The journal publishes theoretical and empirical investigations and case studies in applied welfare economics, law, and policy when they utilize or are relevant to benefit-cost analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, risk-benefit analysis, and related analytical tools.”




Key Articles




Executive Orders

E.O. 12044

Improving Government Regulations (PDF)

President Carter

March 23, 1978

E.O. 12291 (revoked in 1993)

Federal Regulation

President Reagan

February 17, 1981

E.O. 12498

Regulatory Planning Process

President Reagan

January 4, 1985

E.O. 12866

Regulatory Planning and Review

President Clinton

September 30, 1993

E.O. 13132


President Clinton

August 10, 1999

E.O. 13422

Further Amendment to Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Planning and Review

President G.W. Bush

January 18, 2007

E.O. 13563

Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

President Obama

January 18, 2011

E.O. 13579

Regulation and Independent Regulatory Agencies

President Obama

June 11, 2011

E.O. 13610

Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens

President Obama

May 10, 2012

E.O. 13609

Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation

President Obama

May 1, 2012

E.O. 13725

Steps to Increase Competition and Better Inform Consumers and Workers to Support Continued Growth of the American Economy

President Obama

April 15, 2016

E.O. 13771

Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

President Trump

January 30, 2017

E.O. 13777

Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda

President Trump

February 24, 2017


OMB Guidelines