Research

The GW Regulatory Studies Center improves regulatory policy through research, education, and outreach. The Center's scholars conduct applied research to understand regulatory policy and practice from a public interest perspective.

To read more about our different publications, visit the Publications page.

Current Research Areas

 

Latest Research

OMB logo

Public Comment on OMB's 2017 Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations

April 09, 2018

By: Brian F. Mannix, Sofie E. Miller, & Susan E. Dudley
The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center improves regulatory policy through research, education, and outreach. As part of its mission, the GW Regulatory Studies Center conducts careful and independent analyses to assess rulemaking proposals from the perspective of the public interest. This comment on the Office of Management and Budget’s 2017 Draft Report to Congress offers suggestions for improving the information value of the Report, as well as the evidence on which regulatory policies depend, and does not represent the views of any particular affected party or special interest.

Spam

Where's the Spam? Mass Comment Campaigns in Agency Rulemaking

April 02, 2018

By: Steven J. Balla, Alexander R. Beck, William C. Cubbison, & Aryamala Prasad
This article examines the occurrence and nature of mass comment campaigns in rulemaking at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) between 2012 and 2016. The analysis demonstrates that campaigns of more duplicate or near-duplicate comments occur across issue areas under EPA jurisdictions, and that broad societal constituencies—such as environmentalists—are more active in sponsoring campaigns than specific interests negatively affected by stringent regulations. These findings in some respects confirm and in other respects challenge existing understandings of mass comment campaign participation in administrative rulemaking.

agency org chart

Organization, Process, and Agency Rulemaking

March 09, 2018

By Christopher Carrigan & Russell Mills
In this working paper, Christopher Carrigan and Russell Mills demonstrate how variation in the design of rulemaking procedures inside regulatory agencies affects the resulting rules. By employing a novel dataset tracking job functions of agency rule contacts for over 200 economically significant rules, the authors find that expanding the breadth of personnel types closely involved in a rulemaking reduces both the time it takes to promulgate the rule and the resulting detail with which it is presented. This work demonstrates how theories describing the implications of assigning team participants distinct roles in private organizations translate to government rulemaking.

magnifying glass

A Proposed Framework for Evidence-Based Regulation

February 22, 2018

By Marcus Peacock, Sofie E. Miller, & Daniel R. Pérez
Policymakers and scholars have given serious thought to how evidence-based approaches can improve policymaking, but using evidence to improve regulatory outcomes requires a separate framework than the one currently in use. This paper details how the regulatory process differs from other federal policymaking and establishes a framework for evidence-based regulation (EBR) to improve regulatory outcomes by planning for, collecting, and using evidence throughout the life a regulation. The authors discuss the main barriers that regulatory agencies face in implementing an EBR approach and advance concrete proposals for overcoming these barriers.

SRA logo

Book Review of Andrew W. Lo's "Review of Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought"

February 08, 2018

By Susan E. Dudley
What drives our responses to risk and uncertainty, and how can we improve them? In his 2017 book, Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought, MIT Sloan finance professor Andrew Lo answers that question using evolutionary concepts and insights, including competition, innovation, reproduction, and adaptation.

Internet privacy

Measuring Costs and Benefits of Privacy Controls: Conceptual Issues and Empirical Estimates

November 06, 2017

By Joseph J. Cordes, Co-Director & Daniel R. Pérez, Policy Analyst
As personal information becomes increasingly available to internet providers, the government, and employers, a lively debate has emerged about the role of public policy in ensuring a proper balance between parties who benefit from greater access to information and the protection of individual rights to privacy. Additionally, emerging technologies such as highly automated vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems bring privacy concerns to the forefront—particularly regarding the proper role of federal regulatory agencies. Agency rulemaking requires a thorough analysis of regulatory benefits and costs. Our paper hopes to contribute to the development and greater use of empirical measures of consumer privacy.

Corn production

Regulatory Impact on Corn Farming: Transatlantic Agriculture & Regulation Working Paper Series: No. 5

October 24, 2017

By Daniel R. Pérez, Aryamala Prasad, & Zhoudan Xie
The final chapter of the five part series with the USDA and the GW Regulatory Studies Center examines the impact of environmental and food safety regulations on corn production in the U.S. and EU. Using France and Spain as case studies to illustrate the differences that result from EU member states’ translation and implementation of agricultural regulations at the country level, the chapter identifies and discusses regulations affecting corn production and estimates the economic impact of each regulation at the farm level. The use of a typical farm approach demonstrates relative differences in outcomes for farms among different jurisdictions.

pesticides spray

Water Pollution from Agriculture: Transatlantic Agriculture & Regulation Working Paper Series: No. 4

October 12, 2017

By Peter Linquiti & Zhoudan Xie
Part four of the five part series with the USDA and the GW Regulatory Studies Center analyzes how the U.S. and EU regulate water pollution from agriculture. Linquiti and Xie first review the core environmental problem—the process by which nutrient pollution occurs and the adverse environmental and human health consequences it causes. It also provides an overview of the institutions and policy frameworks that shape water quality polices and proceeds by characterizing the specific policy instruments used in the U.S. and the EU to implement these policy frameworks.

US and EU trade

Transatlantic Approaches to Agriculture Policy: Transatlantic Agriculture & Regulation Working Paper Series: No. 3

October 04, 2017

By Susan E. Dudley, Lydia Holmes, Daniel R. Pérez, Aryamala Prasad, & Zhoudan Xie
Part three of the five part series with the USDA and the GW Regulatory Studies Center presents several notable differences in policy approaches towards agriculture between the U.S. and EU. It first provides an overview of the U.S. and EU procedures for developing and implementing regulation and how they differ. It then describes how the jurisdictions approach regulation affecting the agricultural sector. Finally, it discusses and compares five areas of agricultural policy in each jurisdiction: (i) agri-environmental regulations, (ii) organic farming, (iii) genetically modified organisms, (iv) pesticides, and (v) fertilizers.

Agriculture trade

Agricultural Productivity and the Impact of Regulation: Transatlantic Agriculture & Regulation Working Paper Series: No. 2

September 26, 2017

By Aryamala Prasad & Zhoudan Xie
Part two of the five part series with the USDA and the GW Regulatory Studies Center focuses on the impact of agricultural policy, specifically regulation, in influencing agricultural productivity across jurisdictions. It begins by tracing agricultural growth in the EU and U.S. to illustrate their respective trends for agricultural productivity. Then, drawing from the literature, it identifies measures and methodologies used to estimate the impact of regulation on productivity. Finally, it outlines important differences regarding how regulations can affect agricultural productivity and other measures of agricultural performance such as output and production costs in the EU and the U.S.

US and EU

Agricultural Statistics: Transatlantic Agriculture & Regulation Working Paper Series: No. 1

September 20, 2017

By S. Dudley, L. Holmes, P. Linquiti, B. Mannix, D. Pérez, A. Prasad & Z. Xie
As part of a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center produced a five-chapter report on regulatory differences between the United States (U.S.) and the European Union (EU) and their effects on agricultural productivity. This chapter provides an overview of key statistical comparisons between the agricultural sectors of the U.S. and the EU. It highlights key economic indicators, describes the role that agriculture plays in each economy, and illustrates differences in each jurisdiction’s respective factor endowments and trade patterns.

CPSC Logo

CPSC Hearing on Safety Standard Addressing Blade-Contact Injuries on Table Saws

August 14, 2017

By Sofie E. Miller & Jacob Yarborough
In a testimony before the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Miller and Yarborough discuss three components of the Commission's proposed performance standard for table saws: 1) there is not a clear market failure to justify the rulemaking, 2) the rule will have negative effects on competition by creating a legal monopoly, and 3) the benefits that the Commission expects to result from its standard are uncertain.

JBCA cover

Consumer’s Guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis: Ten Tips for Being an Informed Policymaker

August 02, 2017

By S. Dudley, R. Belzer, G. Blomquist, T. Brennan, C. Carrigan, J. Cordes, L. Cox, A. Fraas, J. Graham, G. Gray, J. Hammitt, K. Krutilla, P. Linquiti, R. Lutter, B. Mannix, S. Shapiro, A. Smith, W. .Viscusi & R. Zerbe in the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis
Regulatory impact analyses (RIAs) weigh the benefits of regulations against the burdens they impose and are invaluable tools for informing decision makers. We offer 10 tips for nonspecialist policymakers and interested stakeholders who will be reading RIAs as consumers.

Table saw

Public Comment on the CPSC’s Proposed Rule: Safety Standard Addressing Blade-Contact Injuries on Table Saws

July 27, 2017

By Sofie E. Miller and Jacob Yarborough
The CPSC’s proposed rule mandates that all table saws sold in the U.S. be equipped with Active Injury Mitigation (AIM) technology. Miller and Yarborough argue that this rule would lead to a monopoly of the table saw market. This monopoly would reduce consumer choice, dramatically raise costs, and stifle innovation. In addition, they question the underlying assumptions and models that the CPSC uses to conduct their benefit-cost analysis and argue that the benefits may be overstated and the costs understated.

Reg budget cover

Regulators’ Budget Reflects President Trump’s Priorities

July 18, 2017

By Susan E. Dudley & Melinda Warren
This year's annual report finds that although President Trump has made reducing regulatory burdens a priority, he proposes to increase the regulators' budget in FY 2018. Some agencies are budgeted for significant increases in both expenditures and staff, while others face dramatic cuts. In addition, this report finds that while spending and staffing at federal agencies has generally increased over the 59-year period covered by this report, the focus of those resources and the rate of increase have varied with the perceptions of public policy issues and the philosophies of elected officials in the executive and legislative branches.