Counting Regulatory Benefits and Costs: Lessons for the US and Europe

Posted: 29 Feb 2008  

Robert W. Hahn

University of Oxford, Smith School; Georgetown University

Robert E. Litan

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies


This paper reviews the US and European experiences with regulatory oversight and the use of formal tools to analyze regulation. We conclude that the US and Europe have made some progress in improving regulatory analysis and oversight, but they can do much more.

We offer six recommendations for improving the quality and transparency of regulatory oversight and analysis: three recommendations for the United States and three for Europe. For the US, we suggest that: 1) The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) apply its in-house expertise to evaluate the costs and benefits of regulations; 2) Congress pass a law requiring that all federal regulatory agencies submit annual cost and benefit estimates of major regulations to OMB; and 3) OMB issue a scorecard assessing the overall quality of regulation and ask the agencies to complete a scorecard for each major regulation.

For Europe, we suggest that: 1) The European Union (EU) pass a directive specifying that the primary objective of regulation is to maximize net benefits; 2) The EU create a strong centralized regulatory oversight unit to help evaluate regulatory proposals; and 3) The EU, as well as each member state, create a structure that is balanced, which promotes efficient regulation and discourages inefficient or ineffective regulation.

Keywords: anaemia management, cost-effectiveness, dose, epoetin, safety and tolerability, subcutaneous administration

Suggested Citation

Hahn, Robert W. and Litan, Robert E., Counting Regulatory Benefits and Costs: Lessons for the US and Europe. Journal of International Economic Law, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 473-508, 2005. Available at SSRN:

Robert W. Hahn (Contact Author)

University of Oxford, Smith School ( email )

United Kingdom

Georgetown University

Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Robert E. Litan

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation ( email )

4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110
United States

AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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