Evaluating the Quality and Use of Regulatory Impact Analysis
July 1, 2016
Jerry Ellig of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University assesses how well executive branch agencies conduct regulatory analysis.
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University initiated its Regulatory Report Card project in 2009 to assess how well executive branch regulatory agencies conduct and use regulatory impact analysis and to identify ways to motivate improvement. Report Card evaluations reveal that agencies often adopt regulations that affect several hundred million Americans and impose hundreds of millions of dollars in costs without knowing whether a given regulation will really solve a significant problem, whether a more effective alternative solution exists, or whether a more targeted solution could achieve the same result at lower cost. Extensive statistical analysis of Report Card scores suggests that institutional reforms are the most promising means of improving the quality and use of regulatory impact analysis.