Designing Smarter Regulation with Improved Benefit-Cost Analysis
Benefit-cost analysis is required for many regulatory decisions in the United States and in other countries. In this paper, I examine a standard textbook model that is used in benefit-cost analysis as it is actually applied to environmental policy and other areas of regulation. My primary objective is to suggest how including some key factors in the analysis could promote the development of smarter regulation.I begin by presenting a standard economic model for government intervention in markets, which balances benefits and a narrow definition of costs. I then introduce a richer normative theory that considers several political and economic costs that are frequently not considered in analyzing real-world applications. Examples include costs associated with rent seeking, design and implementation, and raising revenues. The richer theory suggests that the government should supply less of a good, or ask the private sector to provide less of that good, than the standard economic model suggests. The reason is that intervening in markets is often more costly than the standard model assumes. In special cases, the theory provides guidance on the setting of socially optimal taxes and subsidies. I then explore how the theory needs to be modified in the presence of biased estimates of benefits and costs. I conclude with a discussion of how the theoretical framework can be applied to the actual design of regulatory policy.
Volume (Year): 1 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.degruyter.com|
|Order Information:||Web: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jbca|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Martin L. Weitzman, 1974.
"Prices vs. Quantities,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
- M. L. Weitzman, 1973. "Prices vs. Quantities," Working papers 106, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Revesz, Richard & Livermore, Michael, 2008. "Retaking Rationality: How Cost Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195368574, April.
- Martin Feldstein, 1999. "Tax Avoidance And The Deadweight Loss Of The Income Tax," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 674-680, November.
- Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Tax Avoidance and the Deadweight Loss of the Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 5055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169-169.
- Demsetz, Harold, 1969. "Information and Efficiency: Another Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22, April.
- Peltzman, Sam, 1973. "An Evaluation of Consumer Protection Legislation: The 1962 Drug Amendments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(5), pages 1049-1091, Sept.-Oct.
- George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
- Martin L. Weitzman, 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-19, February.
- Weitzman, Martin L., 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," Scholarly Articles 3693423, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Crandall, Robert W & Graham, John D, 1989. "The Effect of Fuel Economy Standards on Automobile Safety," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 97-118, April.
- Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, April.
- repec:reg:rpubli:98 is not listed on IDEAS
- Robert W. Hahn & Paul C. Tetlock, 2008. "Has Economic Analysis Improved Regulatory Decisions?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 67-84, Winter.
- Stavins, Robert N., 1996. "Correlated Uncertainty and Policy Instrument Choice," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 218-232, March.
- Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
- Lawrence H. Goulder & Roberton C. Williams III, 2003. "The Substantial Bias from Ignoring General Equilibrium Effects in Estimating Excess Burden, and a Practical Solution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 898-927, August.
- Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-664, August.
- Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, Diciembre.
- Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)