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

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.

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.

FCC seal

Public Comment on The Federal Communications Commission’s Proposed Rule: Restoring Internet Freedom

July 11, 2017

By Gerald Brock, Ph.D, Co-Director
As an independent regulatory agency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is not required to perform a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) of major regulations. In this public interest comment on the FCC’s “net neutrality” rule, Brock argues that it is desirable to conduct RIA voluntarily because they have become the standard method of ensuring careful analysis of proposed regulations in the U.S. and other major countries.

rick perry

Public Comment on DOE’s Request for Information on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

July 07, 2017

By Sofie E. Miller
This comment provides the Department of Energy with recommendations on how to reduce regulatory burdens pursuant to Executive Orders 13771 and 13777. Miller recommends that DOE establish consistent internal standards for determining whether a rule is "economically justified," including using a threshold to limit the proportion of consumers who bear net costs. DOE should also review each rule before increasing the stringency of its standards, and consider surveys or other measures of actual consumer behavior to ensure that its assumptions about household appliance energy use are accurate.

Primer in Korean

Regulation: A Primer (Korean edition)

July 06, 2017

Susan Dudley and Jerry Brito's book, "Regulation: A Primer" has been translated in Korean. This primer provides an accessible overview of regulatory theory, analysis, and practice. It examines the constitutional underpinnings of federal regulation and discusses who writes and enforces regulation and how they do it. It also provides insights into the different varieties of regulation and how to analyze whether a regulatory proposal makes citizens better or worse off.

stethoscope

U.S. Health Care Reform: Universal Insurance or Affordable Care?

July 03, 2017

By Don W. King, M.D., J.D., Visiting Scholar
Originally published in June 2010. The U.S. leads the world in medical innovation and likely leads the world in quality of care. However, U.S health insurance and medical care are very expensive and Americans may be spending more on health care than is necessary to achieve the highest quality. This paper recommends a healthcare reform approach that emphasizes the importance of each individual owning the funds used for his or her health care and choosing both insurance and care from many available options. By providing more appropriate incentives and making care more affordable, greater individual ownership and more options should lead to fewer excess expenditures and to greater access to care for most people.

Policy scrabble tiles

Improving Regulatory Science: A Case Study of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards

June 30, 2017

By Susan E. Dudley & Marcus Peacock
This paper explores the motivations and institutional incentives of participants involved in the development of regulation aimed at reducing health risks, with a goal of understanding and identifying solutions to what the Bipartisan Policy Center has characterized as “a tendency to frame regulatory issues as debates solely about science, regardless of the actual subject in dispute, [that] is at the root of the stalemate and acrimony all too present in the regulatory system today.” This analysis is focused on a case study of the procedures for developing National Ambient Air Quality Standards under the Clean Air Act, and attempts to identify procedural approaches that bring greater diversity into the decision process.

Kitchen appliances

Reforming the Energy Policy and Conservation Act: Learning from Experience on Energy Efficiency

June 27, 2017

By Sofie E. Miller
The Energy Policy Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) grants the Department of Energy the authority to regulate the energy efficiency of everyday consumer appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators. Because these standards affect almost all households and incur such large potential benefits and costs, the underlying statute merits close inspection. This working paper provides seven recommendations for reforming EPCA to ensure that consumers do not bear disproportionate burdens as a result of energy efficiency rules.

Congress

Structure and Process: Examining the Interaction between Bureaucratic Organization and Analytical Requirements

May 11, 2017

By Stuart Shapiro, Ph.D, Visiting Scholar, in the Review of Policy Research
Attempts by politicians to control bureaucratic decisions include both structural and procedural approaches. But how do these two modes of influence interact? This article examines the interaction between bureaucratic structure and one procedural control, the requirement that agencies conduct an analysis of their decisions prior to their issuance. Shapiro looks at this interaction in the context of two types of analysis, cost-benefit analysis and environmental impact assessment and finds that the conduct of analysis is affected by where analysts are placed in agencies. In particular, independence of analysts has a trade-off.

air conditioners

Public Comment on DOE’s Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

April 25, 2017

By Sofie E. Miller
The Department of Energy’s direct final rule amends the energy efficiency standards for residential central air conditioners and split-system heat pumps. However, DOE’s own analysis suggests that up to 45% of households in some regions will bear net costs as a result of these standards, and that consumers would experience greater savings under less stringent energy efficiency standards. Due to the lack of consumer input in the negotiated rulemaking process—and the significant burdens that consumers are likely to bear from this standard—DOE should not pursue this standard via direct final rule.

Trump EO

Shining a Light on Regulatory Costs

April 04, 2017

By Brian Mannix
President Trump’s Executive Order 13771, "Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs," has caused some confusion among the analysts, inside and outside federal agencies, who forecast the economic effects of regulations. Which effects should count as costs and which as benefits? It sounds like it should be an easy question, but it is not. In this Regulatory Insight, Brian Mannix examines some of the obstacles.

U.S. Capitol

Examining How Small Businesses Confront and Shape Regulations

March 29, 2017

By Sofie E. Miller & Daniel R. Pérez
On March 29th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship met to consider legislative reforms that would affect how small businesses confront and shape regulations. This prepared statement for the record focuses on S. 584: Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act. The analysis suggests that the Committee should: be careful to avoid the problem of double-counting indirect costs, use an evidence-based regulation framework to strengthen retrospective review, and safeguard against unintentionally reducing the efficacy of the existing Small Business Advocacy Review process.

OECD WP

Retrospective Evaluation of Chemical Regulations

March 20, 2017

By Susan E. Dudley
Governments generally conduct rigorous analysis of regulations aimed at reducing chemical risk before they are issued; however, due to both methodological challenges and poor incentives, these regulations are often not evaluated with the same care once they are in place. In this paper prepared for the OECD, Dudley explores practices for more consistent and robust evaluation of regulatory outcomes and concludes that a systems approach to understanding regulatory efficacy would be valuable not only for understanding the effect of past actions, but for improving future decisions and outcomes.

Eisenhower Building

Public Comment on OMB’s Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order Titled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”

February 13, 2017

By Susan E. Dudley, Brian F. Mannix, Sofie E. Miller, & Daniel R. Pérez
In this comment on the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs’ (OIRA) interim guidance on Executive Order 13771, GW Regulatory Studies Center scholars acknowledge that the Order represents a significant departure from past practice, however, they emphasize that the additional budgeting constraints it imposes need not supplant longstanding requirements to examine regulatory benefits as well as costs and to achieve regulatory objectives as cost-effectively as possible. The comment reinforces OIRA’s draft questions and answers, and offers some suggestions for clarification and improvement.

RIA

Consumer’s Guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis

February 02, 2017

By Susan Dudley, Richard Belzer, Glenn Blomquist, Timothy Brennan, Christopher Carrigan, Joseph Cordes, Louis A. Cox, Arthur Fraas, John Graham, George Gray, James Hammitt, Kerry Krutilla, Peter Linquiti, Randall Lutter, Brian Mannix, Stuart Shapiro, Anne Smith, W. Kip Viscusi & Richard Zerbe
This guide is designed for policymakers and others who want to be intelligent consumers of regulatory impact analysis, help them interpret what they read and ask appropriate questions.