Regulatory Impact Assessment in the Age of Partisan Volatility
From: The Regulatory Review
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and the practice of regulatory impact assessment can counteract these effects. These institutions were created during a different political time, roughly from the Nixon Administration through the Ronald Reagan–George H.W. Bush years—a period characterized by consistent Republican control of the presidency (with the exception of the short Carter Administration) and consistent Democratic control of Congress.
If OIRA remains committed to its stabilizing role, it should require agencies to analyze the costs of policy oscillation. Reversing recently adopted policies enhances regulatory uncertainty and sends a general signal to regulated actors that compliance investments could become wasted sunk costs at any time. The costs of that uncertainty, in addition to whether that cost is greater than the benefits of the regulatory reversal, would be worth investigating. Sometimes, even if a policy was undesirable ex ante, leaving it in place might be superior to an uncertainty-inducing change.
Comments are closed.