The Evolution of Benefit-Cost Analysis into Federal Rulemaking

Editor’s Note: Please see the detailed discussion of Dr. Schmid’s pioneering work here. Also see EPA’s internal review of its use of benefit-cost analysis which states, “Beginning with the “Quality of Life” reviews under the Nixon Administration, the requirements for review by OMB have evolved from a relatively simple analysis of costs to the comprehensive benefit-cost analyses required for the current Regulatory Impact Analyses. Often, the factors required for review by OMB are not the same as those specified for consideration in the environmental statutes.

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

The Origin of Regulatory Cost-Benefit Analysis

Editor’s Note: The following 1969 landmark article established the intellectual basis for regulatory cost-benefit analysis. It all began here.

Effective Public Policy and the Government Budget: a Uniform Treatment of Public Expenditures and Public Rules


Dr. A. Allan Schmid, Visiting Professor to the Office of the Secretary of the Army


  • Click here to read “Effective Public Policy and the Government Budget” (pdf 2 MB)


Joint Economic Committee, 91st Congress, First Session Analysis and Evaluation of Public Expenditures: PPBS System US Government 1969, “A compendium of papers submitted to the Subcommittee on Economy and Government of the Joint Economic Committee,” Volume I, pages 579-591.

Executive Branch Regulatory Review Policies Set the Analytic Gold Standard for Independent Financial Agencies to Follow

From: The Regulatory Review

Structural Reforms to Improve Cost-Benefit Analyses of Financial Regulation


Similarly, the SEC’s recent rulemaking problems demonstrate the shortcomings of regulatory analysis at independent agencies. Since the early 1990s, the federal courts have invalidated a slew of SEC rules as a result of the lack of an adequate cost-benefit analysis. Following several judicial rebukes, the SEC decided to update its rulemaking guidance to stave off further such roadblocks to the implementation of its policies. The resulting guidance document borrows very heavily from the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-4, which instructs executive branch agencies on how to perform cost-benefit analyses. Since adopting protocols that mirror that used in the executive branch, the SEC’s cost-benefit analysis has become, according to the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, “a candidate for the ‘gold standard’ of cost-benefit analysis in the United States.”

Social Entrepreneurs and the Management of the Regulatory State, The Latent Need to Update Law School Curricula

From: CRE Presentation to the The Southeastern Association of Law Schools | 2017 SEALS Annual Conference Boca Raton, Florida


Implications for Centralized Regulatory Review

It is the view of CRE that if the federal regulatory process were pro-active in terms of social entrepreneurs providing ingenious solutions to regulatory issues there would be less incentive for politicians to resort to Draconian measures to correct a tilt in the regulatory state. The strong presence of social entrepreneurs would also lead to the formation of a national constituency for OIRA which would shelter it in part from interest group demands for ideological solutions to regulatory issues.

Social Security Numbers: OMB Actions Needed to Strengthen Federal Efforts to Limit Identity Theft Risks by Reducing Collection, Use, and Display

From: US Government Accountability Office | Report to the Chairman; Subcommittee on Social Security Committee on Ways and Means; House of Representatives