Regulatory Benefit-Cost Analysis - Advice for a New Presidential Term

Virtual event hosted by the American Economic Association

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American Economic Association Annual Meeting (2021)

This panel is hosted by the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis, and will be chaired by Glenn Blomquist from the University of Kentucky.

Panelists and topics include:

  • Susan E. Dudley, George Washington University: Lessons from the Past for OIRA's Future
  • Michael Greenstone, University of Chicago
  • Donald Kenkel, Cornell University: Regulatory & Deregulatory Benefit-Cost Analysis
  • Clark Nardinelli: Lessons from a Regulatory Agency
  • Howard Shelanski, Georgetown University

For more than four decades, presidents of both parties have relied on an economic framework for evaluating regulations, requiring agencies to conduct benefit-cost analysis to demonstrate that proposed new regulations will offer expected social benefits that justify their costs. Since 1981, the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management & Budget has overseen executive agencies’ regulatory agendas and reviewed individual proposals before publication, coordinating reviews with other parts of the administration, including the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA). While the regulatory rhetoric of the last six presidents has varied dramatically, these procedures and analytical policies have proven remarkably durable. As the country prepares for a new presidential term, will the net benefits approach to regulation change? Should it? In this panel, key officials who served in the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations will review lessons from past administrations and offer advice for regulatory policy and practice going forward.

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