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Rationalism in Regulation

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  • DeMuth, Christopher
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    Abstract

    This Review follows the structure of Retaking Rationality. In Part I we criticize the book’s narrative (summarized above) as cartoonish and unhistorical—we think it is confusing rather than helpful to understanding recent developments and controversies in cost-benefit analysis and the organization of regulatory decisionmaking within the executive branch. In Part II we consider the book’s “Eight Fallacies of Cost-Benefit Analysis.” We find that these discussions are generally well informed and interesting but suffer from the effort to squeeze cost-benefit issues into the antiregulation-versusproregulation narrative; moreover the discussions are often excessively abstract and ambitious concerning the function of cost-benefit analysis, and they entirely fail to support the thesis that cost-benefit fallacies have been used to defeat beneficial regulations. Finally, in Part III we discuss the authors’ arguments about the need for and practice of OMB/OIRA oversight of agency rulemaking. Here we criticize as naïve the book’s argument that there is no need for an institutional counterweight to agency parochialism and that OIRA’s role should be recast as one of coordination, calibration, and promotion of a proregulatory agenda against the forces of agency sloth. A concluding Part sums up our arguments.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 573.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:reg:wpaper:573

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