The Institute for Policy Integrity produces three types of publications: policy briefs, reports, and working papers. Geared to an audience of political decisionmakers, our policy briefs provide incisive and focused analysis on timely policy topics. Our report series develops deeper research and examination of our core issues. Our working papers give an opportunity for extensive and original scholarly research and analysis from established experts as well as fresh new voices.
The author responds to an argument made by Cass Sunstein that administrative agencies should use breakeven analysis when unable to quantify benefits of a specific regulation. Breakeven analysis seeks to determine how high nonquantifiable benefits of a regulation would have to be for the benefits to justify the costs. In this Comment, the author argues that breakeven analysis can be useful but is always a second-best technique. The first-best approach is to quantify the benefit.
In “Cost-Benefit Analysis and Agency Independence,” Professor Michael A. Livermore argues that cost-benefit analysis provides a standard that constrains the exercise of OIRA’s power, helping to preserve the autonomy of government agencies in the face of White House review. This argument challenges the prevailing view that cost-benefit analysis is a tool for the President to impose authority over executive agencies.
The costs of China’s record economic growth—including pollution—threaten to undercut its progress if left unchecked. Standing in the way of China’s efforts to control pollution is a complex political system of overlapping levels of local and national authorities. This paper examines recent efforts to address the ill-aligned incentives lead some officials to allow high levels of pollution.