This publication is the first time in the nearly half century of centralized regulatory review that the treatises, Archives, Reference Library, Histories and continuous updates thereto (OIRA Hall of Fame Library) that lead its creation have been made available in one location. These work products are being made available to researchers at no cost in order to provide a platform for their informing the American public of the impact that centralized regulator review has on their daily activities. Hopefully current visitors to this website including Congressional and judicial staff, members of the press, federal regulators and a wide range of academic scholars will continue to benefit from the material presented herein. Researchers are invited to visit the OIRA Reference Library which contains thousands of pages of source material on OIRA which is updated daily by CRE staff.
Scores of articles have been written on OIRA by legal academicians and far fewer, unfortunately, by other disciplines. The following introductory articles are the pacesetter’s of the latter category based on their emphasis on the evolution of OIRA. The inclusion of an introductory article does not necessarily mean that CRE agrees with all its content; instead it means that it is an accurate portrayal of the views of a number of relevant observers at a given point in time, however accurate or inaccurate. A temporal review of the articles reveals the success OIRA has had in establishing itself as “the most important institutional feature of the regulatory state”.
An OIRA that is understood is an OIRA that is respected; the continued vetting of OIRA’s operations in a public forum will ultimately result in it having a national constituency—a condition necessary for its sustainability. If you have an article which should be included in the OIRA Archives please contact CRE. We have chosen the following previously published articles, most of recent vintage, to introduce the most comprehensive database available on the origins and impacts of centralized regulatory review.
Subsequent to the initial publication of this post whose introductory statements were limited to those of political scientists we expanded the opening statements to two additional disciplines. Consequently we have published and so categorized papers dealing with the evolution of centralized regulatory review into three contributing disciplines, political science, administrative law, and comparative administrative law. Each discipline brings a unique perspective to the subject of centralized regulatory review. That said we look forward to future contributions from the field of comparative administrative law since as of this date it has not had a major role in the design and implementation of centralized regulatory review.
The Evolution of OIRA
Discipline: Social Sciences
Author of Managing the President’s Program: Presidential Leadership and Legislative Policy Formulation which was awarded the American Political Science Association’s Neustadt Prize as best book on the presidency published in 2002. The noteworthy thrust of these articles is that they debunk the popular view that centralized regulatory review started simply by President Reagan signing an Executive Order and magically the entire Executive Branch followed in lock step to put into place the most important institutional feature of the regulatory state. The author recognizes the enormous, multi-decade state building that preceded the signing of the aforementioned Executive Order including the formative work to apply benefit-cost analysis to rulemaking led by a cadre of seasoned career employees who paid their dues.
Eisner 2017 Regulatory Politics in an Age of Polarization and Drift: Beyond Deregulation
Dean of the Social Sciences and the Henry Merritt Wriston Chair of Public Policy at Wesleyan University, author or coauthor of nine books on topics ranging from the evolution of antitrust policy to the impact of war on state building in the United States. “During the Johnson administration, cost–benefit analysis had been used by the Systems Analysis Group of the Secretary of the Army to evaluate the projects and regulations of the Army Corps of Engineers. But the Quality of Life Committee’s work would lead to a much broader application. On October 5, 1971, OMB Director George Shultz sent a memorandum to the heads of departments and agencies “to establish a procedure for improving the interagency coordination of proposed agency regulations, standards, and guidelines.”
Sabin 2016 “Everything has a price”: Jimmy Carter and the Struggle for Balance in Federal Regulatory Policy
Professor of History, Yale University. Author of scholarly articles on environmental and legal history and U.S. overseas expansion; his essays have been published in the Boston Globe, Chronicle of Higher Education, Chicago Tribune and Legal Affairs.
Waterhouse 2013 Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA
This is a textbook written by a historian who describes in detail the procedures used by the regulated industry to affect federal regulatory policies. An unanticipated component is a description of the disappointment of the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers that the Reagan Administration spent its political capital on perfecting centralized regulatory review as opposed to enacting regulatory reform legislation. The author concludes: “The industrial CEOs who fancied themselves the “voice of business” found themselves one voice among many vying for influence in an increasingly turbulent and unsettled economic landscape.”
Goodwin, Ainsworth, Goodwin 2012 Lobbying and Policymaking
A trio of political science professors produced a book based upon ten years of research which demonstrates the importance of a knowledge of “OIRA procedures”; their research was supported by the National Science Foundation. “Spurred by the disconnect between what was being taught in the classroom and actual practice, Godwin, Ainsworth, and Godwin set out to answer the question, was political science missing some key aspects of the interactions between lobbyists and policy makers. Built on interviews with over 100 lobbyists, these authors show that much of the research on organized interests overlooks the lobbying of regulatory agencies even though it accounts for almost half of all lobbying…”
Shapiro 2011 OIRA Inside and Out
Former employee of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Conducted executive branch reviews of labor and health regulations and a professor of public policy at Rutgers University.
West 2005 The Institutionalization of Regulatory Review
A professor of political science who has written extensively on the operation of federal agencies. He directs the Master in Public Service and Administration Program at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University,
Friedman 1995 Regulation in the Reagan-Bush Era: The Eruption of Presidential Influence
A professor of political science at the University System of Georgia. He published his dissertation titled Regulation in the Reagan‑Bush Era: The Eruption of Presidential Influence which was at the time of its publication one the most extensive ex post reviews of centralized regulatory review.
1989 Gazell Trends in Centralized Control of the Executive Branch
A professor of Public Administration states: “The thesis of this paper is that the most persistent, conspicuous, and pervasive effect on regulation today has been centralization, which broadly denotes the expansion of federal executive responsibilities, primarily at the presidential level, and extensive governmental rules.”
Helco 1975 OMB and the Presidency
A professor of Public Affairs at George Mason University. He was previously a professor of government at Harvard University and George Washington University.
Discipline: Administrative Law
Farber and O’Connell 2014 The Lost World of Administrative Law
Two law professors document why Administrative Law as presently taught is becoming increasingly less relevant because it ignores the presence of institutions such as OIRA.
Percival 2011 Who is in Charge?
A published law professor identifies the Nixon Quality of Life Review as the first centralized regulatory review– a finding which was subsequently documented in extraordinary detail with the publication of OIRA’s Formative Years in the Administrative Law Review. The Quality of Life Review was also the most stringent of all centralized regulatory reviews and was designed–but not implemented outside the Corps of Engineers– during the Johnson Administration. The early existence of the Quality of LIfe Review substantiates the point made by Professor Rudalevige above–it takes more than the signing of an Executive Order to create the most significant institutional feature of the administrative state. The summation of the professor’s articles demonstrates the nearly overwhelming obstacles to the institutionalization of centralized regulatory review and therefore the need to have a knowledge of its alleged historical shortcomings in order to ensure that it, and its offspring [Data Quality Act and Regulatory Budget] continue to occupy a central presence in the management of the regulatory state.
Revesz and Livermore 2008 Rethinking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health
The work product of two professors of law whose writings transcend the minutiae of “litigation-only” thinking and instead focus on macro issues such as OIRA’s emphasis on conducting benefit-cost analysis of regulations. Also see:
Born out of a Reagan-era desire to minimize regulatory costs, and not fundamentally reconsidered since its inception, the centralized review of agency rulemakings has arguably become the most important institutional feature of the regulatory state.
Discipline: Comparative Administrative Law
Chen 2017 Administrator-in-Chief
See this post.
Wiener Alemanno 2010 Comparing Regulatory Oversight Bodies Across the Atlantic: The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the US and the Impact Assessment Board in the EU.
This article is the work product of two professors who performed an in-depth comparison of centralized regulatory review in the US with that of the EU. Published as a chapter in COMPARATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, Susan Rose-Ackerman & Peter Lindseth, eds., Edward Elgar, 2010
Francesco 2010 A Comparative Analysis of Administrative Innovations
The author compares the adoption patterns of four American-originated administrative innovations, i.e. freedom of information legislation, office of technology assessment, regulatory impact assessment, and environmental impact assessment, among EU and OECD member states
Marx 1942 Administrative Regulation in Comparative Perspective
A very early use comparative administrative law to delineate the difference between US and European approaches to regulation and control of the administrative state.
This space reserved for post June 2017 Hall of Fame Publications
Histories Compiled by CRE
Organizations interested in providing support for the continuance of the OIRA History Project should contact CRE.