Top Ten Essays from 2023

January 3, 2024

Our scholars and experts explored a wide range of topics last year and published leading insights on the regulatory developments that mattered most. Here's a recap of our most read essays for 2023.

For more coverage of the important trends in regulation over the past year, check out summaries of our high-level events:
Building On Regulatory Foundations (November 16) and Revising Regulatory Review (May 9).

Will ChatGPT Break Notice and Comment for Regulations?

January 13, 2023. By Mark Febrizio
ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) tool based on a large language model, has the potential to affect the notice-and-comment process for rulemaking. This commentary considers how ChatGPT might be used to generate public comments and explains the existing safeguards for submitting public comments that prevent the system from being overwhelmed.

Comparing the Draft and Final Circular A-4

November 10, 2023. By Mark Febrizio, Sarah Hay, and Zhoudan (Zoey) Xie
Within just a few days of the release of the final OMB Circular A-4 in November, the Center’s policy analysts compared the draft and final versions. Both documents are similar in length, containing over 90 pages (or over 40,000 words) of guidance on various aspects of regulatory analysis. This Insight highlights the differences and similarities in each section between the April draft Circular A-4 and the November final version. For an in-depth comparison of the original (2003) Circular A-4 and the current material, please reference our initial comparison.

Modernizing Regulatory Review Actions

April 7, 2023. By Susan Dudley
On April 6, 2023, the White House released a new executive order, proposed revisions to two circulars, and released associated guidelines that announced long-awaited and substantive changes to federal regulatory practices.

Letter to OIRA Administrator on Circular A-4

August 28, 2023. By Susan Dudley, Joseph Cordes, et al.
Writing to OIRA Administrator Richard Revesz, all the past presidents of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis raise concerns that some of proposed changes to OMB Circular A-4 deviate from the best available current economic science. They offer recommendations to ensure final changes to the Circular are based on widely accepted principles and objective evidence.

Circular A-4: A Comparison between the 2023 Draft and the 2003 Circular

June 16, 2023. By Sarah Hay & Zhoudan (Zoey) Xie
On April 6, OMB issued proposed revisions to Circular A-4. The original Circular, issued in 2003, had provided guidance to federal agencies on the development of regulatory analysis for 20 years. Pursuant to Executive Order 14094 (Modernizing Regulatory Review), OMB proposed to revise the Circular to reflect new developments in economic and other scientific understanding. This Regulatory Insight provides a section-by-section comparison between the 2023 draft and 2003 Circulars and a descriptive discussion about major changes in each section.

Care to Comment? Topics Discussed in Revised Circular A-4 Public Comments

July 12, 2023. By Zhoudan (Zoey) Xie, Sarah Hay & Henry Hirsch
OMB received nearly 4,500 public comments on the proposed revisions to Circular A-4. This commentary gives an overview of those comments and presents our findings on what topics they discuss and who commented based on textual analysis of the unique comments.

Beyond Republicans and the Disapproval of Regulations

January 31, 2023. By Steven Balla, Bridget Dooling & Daniel Pérez
Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), legislators deploy expedited procedures to repeal agency regulations. For decades, the conventional wisdom—drawn from a handful of cases in which rules were repealed—has been that the CRA is primarily used by Republicans to nullify regulations issued at the close of Democratic presidential administrations. In this article, we demonstrate that the conventional wisdom provides an incomplete account of the use of the CRA.

Biden’s Fall 2022 Unified Agenda

January 9, 2023. By Zhoudan (Zoey) Xie
The Fall 2022 Unified Agenda suggests that federal agencies are moving forward with regulations on a wide variety of policy areas including the environment, public health, labor, and immigration. Specific agency actions reflect the Biden administration’s priorities on advancing equity and tackling the climate crisis.

Congressionally Reviewed: A New Pattern in CRA Vetoes

October 4, 2023. By Sarah Hay
The Congressional Review Act gives Congress the ability to overturn federal regulations. Only ten months into the current session of Congress, Congress has passed seven CRA resolutions targeting Biden administration rules. This piece investigates why that could be happening, despite Democratic control of the Senate.

The Promise (and a Potential Pitfall) of the Biden Administration’s Equity in Public Engagement Initiative

February 22, 2023. By Steven Balla & Sarah Hay
OIRA’s public engagement recommendations have the opportunity to expand engagement in the federal rulemaking process, but the administration must build on their recommendations to manage public expectations about the efficacy of public engagement.