Study: The Consequences of Regulatory Accumulation and a Proposed Solution

From: Mercatus Center/George Mason University

Patrick McLaughlin, Richard Williams

While every American president for the past 30 years has embraced the notion of performing economic analysis on new regulations before their implementation, no president has successfully reexamined the enormous stock of previously existing regulations that he inherited nor materially altered the growth of the stock of regulations. Yet this stock of federal regulations in the United States is enormous and growing. In 2012, the Code of Federal Regulations—the series of books that contain all the currently applicable federal regulations—comprised over 170,000 pages of dense legal text. Importantly, as the quantity and scope of regulations grow, so does the degree to which they can negatively affect people and the economy.

Regulations and Copyright Law

From: RegBlog/Penn Program on Regulation

House Subcommittee Airs Debate Over “Secret Law”

Debate over public access to all regulatory standards continued recently before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee considering “the scope of copyright protection.”

The debate centered on a practice called “incorporation by reference,” which some legislators say keeps binding laws hidden from the public.

Debate over public access to all regulatory standards continued recently before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee considering “the scope of copyright protection.”

The debate centered on a practice called “incorporation by reference,” which some legislators say keeps binding laws hidden from the public.

Get Ready for Annual Strategic Reviews


By John Kamensky | IBM Center for the Business of Government

A new law requires the Office of Management and Budget to determine annually whether programs meet goals set out in agencies’ annual performance plans. To do this, OMB has created a new review process.

A provision of the 2010 Government Performance and Results Modernization Act that kicks in this year requires OMB to determine whether programs meet the goals outlined in agency performance plans. If not, then OMB has to prepare a report to Congress on unmet goals.

The Impact of the Volcker Rule on Job Creators

Editor’s Note: A letter from the US Chamber of Commerce to the House Financial Services Committee discussing the Volker rule is attached here. A portion of the letter (notes omitted) is reprinted below.

From: US Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber and its members were surprised when the Agencies provided no meaningful assessment of the quantifiable costs and benefits associated with their Volcker Rule Proposal when it was published for comment. Instead, the Agencies concluded that the Volcker Rule Proposal “would not appear to have a significant economic impact on small entities” such that no economic analysis was required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (“RFA”) or the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (“SBREFA”). This is remarkable in light of the impact that the Final Volcker Rule is having on many small financial institutions with an interest in CDOs.

Cost-Benefit Analysis and Agency Independence

Editor’s Note:  The New York University School of Law/Institute for Policy Integrity working paper by Michael A. Livermore is attached here.  Below is the Abstract.

Abstract: The presidential mandate that agency rulemakings be subjected to cost-benefit analysis and regulatory review is one of the most controversial developments in administrative law over the past several decades. There is a prevailing view that the role of cost-benefit analysis in the executive branch is to help facilitate control of agencies by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). This Article challenges that view, arguing that cost-benefit analysis helps preserve agency autonomy in the face of oversight. This effect stems from the constraints imposed on reviewers by the regularization of cost-benefit analysis methodology and the fact that agencies have played a major role in shaping that methodology. The autonomy-preserving effect of cost-benefit analysis has been largely ignored in debates over the institution of regulatory review. Ultimately, cost-benefit analysis has ambiguous effects on agency independence, simultaneously preserving, informing, and constraining agency power.

Behavioral Science in the Regulatory State

From:  RegBlog/Penn Program on Regulation

President Obama’s Executive Order 13563 for the first time in history encouraged administrative agencies to draw upon the behavioral sciences in the design and implementation of new regulations.  To date, however, agencies have received no practical guidance on how to integrate behaviorally inspired regulatory instruments into the regulatory process.  How can public administrators transform behavioral research findings into operational regulatory tools while ensuring protections for citizens in a new, “nudging” state?

Three Years of Regulatory Reform: Did the President’s Executive Orders Work?

From: American Action Forum

By Sam Batkins

Three years ago, President Obama issued Executive Order 13,563 (Order 13,563) attempting to reduce “redundant, inconsistent, or overlapping” regulations. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator at the time, Cass Sunstein, hailed the measure as “unprecedented.” He and President Obama took to the op-ed pages to trumpet this new effort at deregulation.

However, upon careful inspection, Order 13,563 isn’t unprecedented; it hasn’t cut red tape, and many of the touted reforms were recycled from the previous administration. For example, President Jimmy Carter issued an executive order in 1978 urging retrospective review, 33 years before President Obama’s efforts: “Agencies shall periodically review their existing regulations to determine whether they are achieving the policy goals of this Order.”

John Coates on cost-benefit analysis of financial regulation

From: Eric Posner

John Coates recently posted a paper on SSRN entitled Cost-Benefit Analysis of Financial Regulation: Case Studies and Implications. This topic has been important ever since the D.C. Circuit struck down an SEC regulation for failing CBA in Business Roundtable in 2011. Glen Weyl and I held a conference on the topic last fall, and have written several papers arguing that, whatever one thinks of the reasoning in the (justly criticized) Business Roundtable case, CBA is the way to go.

ACUS: Retrospective Review of Agency Rules — Request for Proposal

From: Administrative Conference of the United States

The Administrative Conference is seeking a consultant to undertake a research project that will study the procedures by which agencies engage in retrospective review of existing regulations and develop recommendations for enhancing or building upon the existing regime. Proposals are due by 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on February 5, 2014.


Does Regulation Kill Jobs?

Editor’ Note: Registration for the book discussion is here.

From: The GW Regulatory Studies Center (George Washington University)

February 13, 2014 Book Discussion: Does Regulation Kill Jobs?

Join us on Thursday, February 13 (10:00 – 12:00 in Marvin 407) as Cary Coglianese, Adam Finkel, and Christopher Carrigan discuss their new book, Does Regulation Kill Jobs?

Cary Coglianese is Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Director of the Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania. Adam M. Finkel is Senior Fellow and Executive Director of the Penn Program on Regulation. Christopher Carrigan is Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University.