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Policy Watch: Government Analysis of the Benefits and Costs of Regulation

  • Robert W. Hahn

Recently, Congress has shown a greater interest in assessing the economic impact of regulation. This interest was driven in part by estimates that federal regulation costs several hundred billion dollars annually. In 1996, Congress required the director of the Office of Management and Budget to provide estimates of the total annual benefits and costs of individual regulations. This essay reviews the increasing use of economic analysis in regulatory decisionmaking, critically assesses the first 0MB report, and considers how the use of economic analysis can help inform regulatory decisionmaking. It argues that policymakers need to address a growing body of evidence that casts doubt on the effectiveness and efficiency of much regulation.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.12.4.201
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 12 (1998)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 201-210

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:12:y:1998:i:4:p:201-10
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.4.201
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  1. Guasch, J. Luis & Hahn, Robert W., 1997. "The costs and benefits of regulation : implications for developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1773, The World Bank.
  2. Clifford Winston, 1998. "U.S. Industry Adjustment to Economic Deregulation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 89-110, Summer.
  3. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Kimberly Ann Elliott, 1994. "Measuring the Costs of Protection in the United States," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 77, March.
  4. Hazilla, Michael & Kopp, Raymond J, 1990. "Social Cost of Environmental Quality Regulations: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 853-73, August.
  5. Adam B. Jaffe et al., 1995. "Environmental Regulation and the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 132-163, March.
  6. Robert W. Crandall, 1992. "Policy Watch: Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 171-180, Spring.
  7. James T. Hamilton & W. Kip Viscusi, 1999. "Are Risk Regulators Rational? Evidence from Hazardous Waste Cleanup Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 1010-1027, September.
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