Regulatory Analysis Requirements Reduce Political Influence

From: Regulation and Governance

Regulatory Analysis Procedures and Political Influence on Bureaucratic Policymaking

Neal D. Woods


Well-known theories suggest that administrative procedures may be used as mechanisms of political control of the bureaucracy. This study investigates whether three common regulatory analysis procedures—cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment, and economic impact analysis—lead to greater influence by political officials on bureaucratic policymaking. Multivariate analyses of data from a unique survey of state administrators indicate that regulatory analysis requirements are associated with decreases in the perceived influence of elected political officials on the content of administrative rules. This association is particularly evident in cases where proposed rules are subjected to a cost–benefit test. These findings contradict prominent theories of administrative procedures, but are consistent with recent research on the political power of administrative agencies.

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