Consumer's Guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis: Ten Tips for Being an Informed Policy Maker

Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Vol. 8, No. 2, Pp. 187-204 (2017)

Posted: 3 Apr 2022

See all articles by Susan E. Dudley

Susan E. Dudley

George Washington University

Richard B. Belzer

Washington University in St. Louis - D.C. Satellite Office

Glenn C. Blomquist

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics

Timothy Brennan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Christopher Carrigan

George Washington University - Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration

Joseph J. Cordes

George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIP)

Louis Anthony (Tony) Cox

Cox Associates, Inc.

Arthur G. Fraas

Resources for the Future

John Graham

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA)

George Gray

George Washington University

James K. Hammitt

Harvard University

Kerry Krutilla

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA)

Randall Lutter

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Brian Mannix

George Washington University

Stuart Shapiro

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

Anne E. Smith

Marsh & McLennan Companies - Washington, D.C. Office

W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt University - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

Richard O. Zerbe

University of Washington - Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs; University of Washington - School of Law

Date Written: Summer 2017

Abstract

Regulatory impact analyses (RIAs) weigh the benefits of regulations against the burdens they impose and are invaluable tools for informing decision makers. We offer 10 tips for nonspecialist policymakers and interested stakeholders who will be reading RIAs as consumers. 1. Core problem: Determine whether the RIA identifies the core problem (compelling public need) the regulation is intended to address. 2. Alternatives: Look for an objective, policy-neutral evaluation of the relative merits of reasonable alternatives. 3. Baseline: Check whether the RIA presents a reasonable “counterfactual” against which benefits and costs are measured. 4. Increments: Evaluate whether totals and averages obscure relevant distinctions and trade-offs. 5. Uncertainty: Recognize that all estimates involve uncertainty, and ask what effect key assumptions, data, and models have on those estimates. 6. Transparency: Look for transparency and objectivity of analytical inputs. 7. Benefits: Examine how projected benefits relate to stated objectives. 8. Costs: Understand what costs are included. 9. Distribution: Consider how benefits and costs are distributed. 10. Symmetrical treatment: Ensure that benefits and costs are presented symmetrically.

Available open access via Cambridge Core: https://doi.org/10.1017/bca.2017.11.

Keywords: Regulatory Impact Analysis, policy

JEL Classification: L51, E60

Suggested Citation

Dudley, Susan E. and Belzer, Richard B. and Blomquist, Glenn C. and Brennan, Timothy and Carrigan, Christopher and Cordes, Joseph J. and Cox, Louis Anthony (Tony) and Fraas, Arthur G. and Graham, John and Gray, George and Hammitt, James K. and Krutilla, Kerry and Lutter, Randall and Mannix, Brian and Shapiro, Stuart and Smith, Anne E. and Viscusi, W. Kip and Zerbe, Richard O., Consumer's Guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis: Ten Tips for Being an Informed Policy Maker (Summer 2017). Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Vol. 8, No. 2, Pp. 187-204 (2017), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3955259

Susan E. Dudley (Contact Author)

George Washington University ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Richard B. Belzer

Washington University in St. Louis - D.C. Satellite Office ( email )

819 7th St., NW, Ste. 310
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-898-2050 (Phone)

Glenn C. Blomquist

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Gatton Business & Economics Bldg 335
Lexington, KY 40506-0034
United States
859-257-3924 (Phone)
859-323-1920 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://gatton.uky.edu/faculty/blomquist/

Timothy Brennan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Christopher Carrigan

George Washington University - Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration ( email )

805 21st Street, NW
Suite 601
Washington, DC 20052
United States
(202) 994-5583 (Phone)
(202) 994-6792 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tspppa.gwu.edu/faculty/carrigan.cfm

Joseph J. Cordes

George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIP) ( email )

805 21st Street, NW
Media and Public Affairs Building, Room 602
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-5826 (Phone)
202-994-6147 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.gwu.edu/~pubpol/cordesbio.html

Louis Anthony (Tony) Cox

Cox Associates, Inc. ( email )

503 Franklin Street
Denver, CO 80218
United States
303-388-1778 (Phone)
303-388-0609 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cox-associates.com/contact.htm

Arthur G. Fraas

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P ST, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

John Graham

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

George Gray

George Washington University

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

James K. Hammitt

Harvard University ( email )

718 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-432-4343 (Phone)
617-432-0190 (Fax)

Kerry Krutilla

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Randall Lutter

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy ( email )

235 McCormick Rd.
P.O. Box 400893
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4893
United States

Brian Mannix

George Washington University ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://regulatorystudies.columbian.gwu.edu/

Stuart Shapiro

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy ( email )

New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

Anne E. Smith

Marsh & McLennan Companies - Washington, D.C. Office ( email )

1255 23rd Street NW
Washington, DC 20037-1125
United States

W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7715 (Phone)
615-322-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Richard O. Zerbe

University of Washington - Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs ( email )

Box 353055
Seattle, WA 98125
United States
206-616-5470 (Phone)

University of Washington - School of Law

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States

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