IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bpj/jbcacn/v1y2010i1n5.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Designing Smarter Regulation with Improved Benefit-Cost Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Hahn Robert

    (University of Manchester)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hahn Robert, 2010. "Designing Smarter Regulation with Improved Benefit-Cost Analysis," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-19, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jbcacn:v:1:y:2010:i:1:n:5
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jbca.2010.1.1/jbca.2010.1.1.1000/jbca.2010.1.1.1000.xml?format=INT
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Demsetz, Harold, 1969. "Information and Efficiency: Another Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22, April.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817.
    10. repec:reg:rpubli:98 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. 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.
    12. Stavins, Robert N., 1996. "Correlated Uncertainty and Policy Instrument Choice," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 218-232, March.
    13. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, April.
    17. 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)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Philip E. Graves, 2010. "Benefit-Cost Analysis of Environmental Projects: A Plethora of Systematic Biases," CESifo Working Paper Series 3144, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Marette Stéphan & Roosen Jutta & Blanchemanche Sandrine, 2011. "The Combination of Lab and Field Experiments for Benefit-Cost Analysis," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 2(3), pages 1-36, August.
    3. Kinnaman, Thomas C., 2011. "The economic impact of shale gas extraction: A review of existing studies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(7), pages 1243-1249, May.
    4. Graves, Philip E., 2012. "Benefit-Cost Analysis of Environmental Projects: A Plethora of Biases Understating Net Benefits," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 1-25, August.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:jbcacn:v:1:y:2010:i:1:n:5. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: https://www.degruyter.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.