Benefit-Cost Analysis: OIRA’s Lifeline

It would have been virtually impossible to establish an organization within the Executive Office of the President to review regulations had it not been established in an institution known for performing objective economic analyses of  proposals for federal sponsorship. Consequently the resultant grant of authority to OMB to initiate centralized regulatory review did not occur as a result of OMB’s  legal acumen.

Notwithstanding the important role that benefit-cost analysis played in the establishment of OIRA it should be noted that many in the centralized regulatory review community, including some employed by OIRA, believe that the use of benefit-cost analysis  is entirely beholden to Executive Order 12866 because of its laudatory shelf life of more than two decades. This post provides the relevant background material for making a more informed assessment.

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