A Tribute to Allan Schmid

Editor’s Note: Also see The Evolution of Benefit-Cost Analysis into Federal Rulemaking and the former Director of the Systems Analysis Group’s Commentary on Dr. Schmid’s paper, “Effective Public Policy and the Government Budget: a Uniform Treatment of Public Expenditures and Public Rules.” 

From: Regulatory Pacesettters and Economic Thought

Allan Schmid, the economist who first recommended that benefit-cost analysis be applied to regulations, received a tribute in a paper written by Professor Rumen Brussarski of Bulgaria.

Professor Brussarski writes:

In memory of Alfred Allan Schmid

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China Implements More Participatory Rulemaking Under Communist Party

Editor’s Note: The following presented as part of CRE’s occasional series of articles discussing regulatory review processes around the world. See also, The Need for Centralized Regulatory Review in Brazil and Centralized Regulatory Review in the UK.

From: The Regulatory Review | Penn Program on Regulation

China’s central government, the State Council, recently mandated a 30-day public notice-and-comment process for most government rulemakings and institutionalized other mechanisms that increase public participation and transparency in the rulemaking process throughout the country more generally.

The Curious Bipartisan Push for Evidence-Based Policymaking

From: The Regulatory Review

Despite its popularity, “evidence-based” policymaking is often less rational than it sounds.


We typically think of evidence-based policymaking as an instruction to agencies to make a particular decision on the basis of the best available evidence. But many provisions are much more general. For example, the much ballyhooed evidence provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act are not addressed to the U.S. Department of Education at all. Instead, the provisions give state grantees tremendous leeway in addressing low-performing schools; these provisions just say that when states decide how they want to intervene, they should use some sort of evidence-based practices. Such an instruction barely constrains government actors from selecting the policy interventions they prefer.

How Agencies Should Use Waivers and Exemptions

From: The Regulatory Review



The second part states that agencies should establish standards and internal procedures, to the extent practicable, for seeking and approving waiver and exemptions. Equal treatment of parties, absent extenuating circumstances, is also important. So is clearly announcing the duration of waivers or exemptions in advance.

Finally, the last part encourages agencies to consider soliciting public comments to inform its decisions and decision-making procedures. It also encourages explanations for decisions and representative examples to the extent practicable and consistent with legal or policy concerns, such as privacy.

Five Recommendations for Improving Administrative Government

From: The Regulatory Review

The search for ways to improve how government works may have become a little easier lately, thanks to five recommendations recently issued by a distinctive public–private partnership known as the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS).

ACUS—which operates as an independent federal agency—brings together more than 100 experts from the public and private sectors to identify solutions to problems facing government agencies. At least twice each year, ACUS publishes recommendations on how officials should design and implement administrative processes and regulations to improve their ability to achieve desired outcomes.

NGOs’ Increasing Use of the Data Quality Act

From: Notice & Comment | A Blog from the Yale Journal on Regulation and the ABA Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice

by Jim Tozzi

The publication of a landmark treatise on the Data Quality Act (DQA, aka the Information Quality Act or IQA) is timely because there is a substantial increase in its use by NGOs. Future litigants, whether plaintifs or a defendants, now have an arsenal previously unavailable to them to use as a reference guide when they take an action under the DQA.

One petitioner states the following:

The Unexpected Consequences of Private Regulatory Standards

Editor’s Note: Private standards are going to be essential for protecting both public health and economic growth. See, An Updated Look at the Federal Policies Governing How Agencies Use Voluntary Consensus Standards in Regulatory, Procurement, and Science Documents.

From: The Regulatory Review


When people decide to buy or sell a product, they need to agree on its price. To make that decision, they have to assess the quality and utility of the product, depending on its features. This is where product standards or product specifications come in. They describe the product’s technical features, its physical appearance, and how it was produced.

GAO: The Regulatory Flexibility Act and Retrospective Review Policies & Analyses of Six Financial Regulators Need Improvement

From: US GAO | GAO-18-404T

Analyzing Regulatory Burden: Policies and Analyses under the Regulatory Flexibility Act and Retrospective Reviews Could Be Improved


Many RFA-Required Analyses Had Weaknesses


  • The evaluations for some rules of economic impact on small entities did not describe or estimate compliance costs. Analyses we reviewed also generally did not evaluate differences in estimated compliance costs for identified alternatives.
  • Five of six regulators did not consistently disclose the data sources or methodologies used for estimating the number of subject small entities or compliance costs.


Centralizing Congressional Oversight

From: SSRN | Journal of Law and Politics, Vol. XXXII, No. 261

Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2018-05

Matthew Brooker

Kirkland & Ellis – Washington, D.C. Office

Michael A. Livermore

University of Virginia School of Law


The shared presidential and congressional responsibility to oversee administrative agencies creates an opportunity for productive public consideration of administrative policy making. It also creates a forum for hostile grandstanding that can, when taken to an extreme, gridlock the federal government. During periods of divided government, when party differences enhance inter-branch tension, there is greater risk that the constitutional system of shared powers will be thwarted by partisan incentives to compete rather than cooperate.Indeed, the later years of the Obama administration serve as a kind of case study in the consequences of dysfunctional party relations for agency oversight.

Genesis and development of the evaluation of regulatory impact

Editor’s Note: Translated from the Bulgarian original.

From: Central & Eastern European Online Library

Economic Thought | Institute for Economic Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Prof. Dr. Rumen Brussarski (Проф. д-р Румен Брусарски)


During the 70s of the twentieth century economists realized that public expenditures and rulemaking have similar effects on resource allocation and equity. Thus, the process of creating regulations entered the orbit of the economic cost-benefit analysis. This article is dedicated to the genesis and development of impact assessment in the United States, the European Union and Bulgaria.