Historical Perspective and Better Regulatory Governance: An Agenda for Institutional Reform

Editor’s Note:  The paper, “Historical Perspective and Better Regulatory Governance: An Agenda for Institutional Reform” is attached here.

It should be noted that CRE has devoted a significant amount of resources on maintaining the most complete history of centralized regulatory review available at any location.

The website is  TheOMB.US  and is visited constantly by legal scholars.




From: The Rethinking Regulation Paper Series organized by the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University

By Edward Balleisen, Associate Professor of History, Duke University, and Elizabeth Brake, Candidate, History Department, Duke University

Abstract: Compared to economics, sociology, political science, and law, the discipline of history has had a limited role in the wide-ranging efforts to reconsider strategies of regulatory governance, especially inside regulatory institutions. This article explores how more sustained historical perspective might improve regulatory decision-making. We first survey how a set of American regulatory agencies currently rely on historical research and analysis, whether for the purposes of public relations or as a means of supporting policy-making. We then consider how regulatory agencies might draw on history more self-consciously, more strategically, and to greater effect. Three areas stand out in this regard – the use of history to improve understanding of institutional culture; reliance on historical analysis to test the empirical plausibility of conceptual models that make assumptions about the likelihood of potential economic outcomes; and integration of historical research methods into program and policy evaluation.

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