Statistics and the Paperwork Reduction Act: An FTC Case Study

7 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2016

Date Written: January 25, 2016


The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) requires that federal agencies obtain OMB approval before requesting most types of information from the public. Among other requirements, the PRA requires that agencies desiring to conduct surveys provide OMB with a variety of information about the study design to ensure that results will be high quality, objective, and methodologically consistent across agencies.

Despite the large number of surveys conducted by federal agencies each year, most of these are little more than pilot studies on which the sponsoring agency cannot base regulatory, legislative, or policy decisions. A good example of this is the ongoing study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of patent assertion entities (PAE). The FTC study may well contribute new data related to PAE activity, but, like other exploratory studies, there should be important limits on the use of the FTC’s findings and on the conclusions that may be drawn.

Keywords: FTC, PRA, Paperwork Reduction Act, PAE, patent assertion entity,exploratory study, confirmatory study

JEL Classification: C00, C12, C13, C42, C99

Suggested Citation

Scheuren, Fritz, Statistics and the Paperwork Reduction Act: An FTC Case Study (January 25, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Fritz Scheuren (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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