Two Different Views on the Preferred Background for an OIRA Administrator

Editor’s Note: The views set forth below undoubtedly reflect the probable positions of the majority of the members who oversee the confirmation of the Administrator of OIRA. Notwithstanding the merits of the arguments presented therein we believe the social entrepreneurial skills of a nominee out rank all other considerations.  Recognizing that if one is to be successful in the regulatory space an individual must have a footing in an established discipline, how many of the game changing events that lead to the establishment of OIRA were dependent primarily on economic or legal skills? We are not convinced that the skills necessary to establish the most important institutional feature of the regulatory state differ from those necessary to operate it on a sustainable basis.

 

The following quotes are drawn from the Washington Post article on the nomination of Professor Neomi Rao to be the head of OIRA.

bernard11

4/9/2017 10:25 AM EDT

Rao seems to have impressive legal credentials.  But this job, it seems to me, ought to require someone with considerable training and experience in economic analysis and statistics. It’s not clear how well-qualified she is on that front.  Ultimately, whether a regulation is a good idea or not is not a question of Chevron deference or other legal questions, but of empirical analysis. I hope she understands that.

Jonathan H. Adler

4/9/2017 5:15 PM EDT

There are plenty of people within OIRA with that expertise. The key qualification for an effective OIRA administrator is really the ability to understand the broader legal environment and how to make sure regulatory policy is conducted consistent with the Administration’s priorities. …more

bernard11

4/11/2017 1:50 PM EDT [Edited]

OK, but doesn’t understanding “the broader legal environment” more or less mean understanding the permitted scope of regulations, and the required procedures around putting them in place, or eliminating them?     That’s important, sure, but understanding their actual effects – beyond sloganeering – and being able to advocate intelligently, for or against, looks pretty vital to me, and something that needs more than just reliance on a staff report.     I mean, if a non-lawyer technocrat were appointed and you argued that legal expertise was needed I could say, “Gee, aren’t there staff attorneys?” Why is one thing and not the other the “key qualification?” ….more

 

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