Toward a Regulatory Budget

10 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2003

See all articles by Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management


A regulatory budget would require the federal government to treat compliance costs incurred by the private sector as if they were incurred by the government, without requiring the government to actually assume those costs. For example, EPA could be given a regulatory compliance budget of say $80 billion in FY98. A regulatory budget would provoke an annual debate in Congress on the size of EPA's or OSHA's budget. Such a debate would force the proponents to weigh the benefits and costs of various regulatory programs, something now lacking in the political process.

Interest in a regulatory budget reflects the slight gains in the quality of regulatory decision-making resulting from mandatory regulatory review. It is now apparent that better information about the costs, benefits, and distributional consequences of regulation will not automatically improve regulatory decision-making - although it would not hurt.

Suggested Citation

Thompson, Fred, Toward a Regulatory Budget. Public Budgeting & Finance, Vol. 17, pp. 89-98, March 1997, Available at SSRN:

Fred Thompson (Contact Author)

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management ( email )

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