Cost-Benefit Analysis and Agency Independence

Editor’s Note:  The New York University School of Law/Institute for Policy Integrity working paper by Michael A. Livermore is attached here.  Below is the Abstract.

Abstract: The presidential mandate that agency rulemakings be subjected to cost-benefit analysis and regulatory review is one of the most controversial developments in administrative law over the past several decades. There is a prevailing view that the role of cost-benefit analysis in the executive branch is to help facilitate control of agencies by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). This Article challenges that view, arguing that cost-benefit analysis helps preserve agency autonomy in the face of oversight. This effect stems from the constraints imposed on reviewers by the regularization of cost-benefit analysis methodology and the fact that agencies have played a major role in shaping that methodology. The autonomy-preserving effect of cost-benefit analysis has been largely ignored in debates over the institution of regulatory review. Ultimately, cost-benefit analysis has ambiguous effects on agency independence, simultaneously preserving, informing, and constraining agency power.

Behavioral Science in the Regulatory State

From:  RegBlog/Penn Program on Regulation

President Obama’s Executive Order 13563 for the first time in history encouraged administrative agencies to draw upon the behavioral sciences in the design and implementation of new regulations.  To date, however, agencies have received no practical guidance on how to integrate behaviorally inspired regulatory instruments into the regulatory process.  How can public administrators transform behavioral research findings into operational regulatory tools while ensuring protections for citizens in a new, “nudging” state?

Three Years of Regulatory Reform: Did the President’s Executive Orders Work?

From: American Action Forum

By Sam Batkins

Three years ago, President Obama issued Executive Order 13,563 (Order 13,563) attempting to reduce “redundant, inconsistent, or overlapping” regulations. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator at the time, Cass Sunstein, hailed the measure as “unprecedented.” He and President Obama took to the op-ed pages to trumpet this new effort at deregulation.

However, upon careful inspection, Order 13,563 isn’t unprecedented; it hasn’t cut red tape, and many of the touted reforms were recycled from the previous administration. For example, President Jimmy Carter issued an executive order in 1978 urging retrospective review, 33 years before President Obama’s efforts: “Agencies shall periodically review their existing regulations to determine whether they are achieving the policy goals of this Order.”

John Coates on cost-benefit analysis of financial regulation

From: Eric Posner

John Coates recently posted a paper on SSRN entitled Cost-Benefit Analysis of Financial Regulation: Case Studies and Implications. This topic has been important ever since the D.C. Circuit struck down an SEC regulation for failing CBA in Business Roundtable in 2011. Glen Weyl and I held a conference on the topic last fall, and have written several papers arguing that, whatever one thinks of the reasoning in the (justly criticized) Business Roundtable case, CBA is the way to go.

ACUS: Retrospective Review of Agency Rules — Request for Proposal

From: Administrative Conference of the United States

The Administrative Conference is seeking a consultant to undertake a research project that will study the procedures by which agencies engage in retrospective review of existing regulations and develop recommendations for enhancing or building upon the existing regime. Proposals are due by 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on February 5, 2014.

Background

Does Regulation Kill Jobs?

Editor’ Note: Registration for the book discussion is here.

From: The GW Regulatory Studies Center (George Washington University)

February 13, 2014 Book Discussion: Does Regulation Kill Jobs?

Join us on Thursday, February 13 (10:00 – 12:00 in Marvin 407) as Cary Coglianese, Adam Finkel, and Christopher Carrigan discuss their new book, Does Regulation Kill Jobs?

Cary Coglianese is Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Director of the Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania. Adam M. Finkel is Senior Fellow and Executive Director of the Penn Program on Regulation. Christopher Carrigan is Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University.

Postcard from Europe: The Precautionary Principle in Action

From: The Telegraph

Traditional Danish pastries threatened by EU cinnamon ban

Proposals for an EU ban on cinnamon rolls have put a dampener on Denmark’s Christmas festivities

By , Brussels

The season’s festivities in Denmark have been overshadowed by the prospect   that it could be the last Danish Christmas before a European Union ban on their beloved kanelsnegle or cinnamon rolls.

The proposed ban followed plans by Denmark’s food safety agency to implement EU regulations aimed at limiting the amount of coumarin, a naturally occurring toxic chemical found in the most commonly used type of cinnamon, cassia.

A Regulatory Flurry: The Year in Regulation, 2013

From: American Action Forum

By Sam Batkins

This year regulators published $112 billion in net regulatory costs, including deregulatory measures. They added 157.9 million paperwork burden hours, according to the daily tally from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). At the beginning of 2013, the American Action Forum predicted $123 billion in regulatory costs, or 8 percent from the actual figure.

From 2009 to 2013, regulators have published $494 billion in final rules. This figure dwarfs the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from countries like Sweden, Peru, and Ireland. With more than $87.6 billion in proposed rule costs this year, burdens will continue to increase in 2014.

Leslie Taito, director of Chafee’s Office of Regulatory Reform

Editor’s Note:  Ms. Taito’s development of a retrospective regulatory review process demonstates that policy entrepreneurship in state governments is deserving of academic study.

From: Providence Journal

By Paul Grimaldi

PROVIDENCE — The staffer heading Governor Chafee’s regulatory overhaul effort said Friday she will leave her post next week to take “an exciting opportunity in private industry.”

Leslie Taito, who is director of Chafee’s Office of Regulatory Reform, said in a staff memo obtained by The Journal that her last day will be Jan. 9.

Regulatory Year in Review: 2013

From: RegBlog/Penn Program on Regulation

As the new year arrives, RegBlog would like to reflect on the many important regulatory developments that occurred in the United States and around the world during 2013.  We also want to recognize some of the excellent work we had the privilege to feature on RegBlog this past year.  Today through Wednesday, we will present the top 50 RegBlog posts of the past twelve months, based on the number of page views for the work appearing in each of our opinion, news, and analysis sections.