Institute for Policy Integrity logo

Recent Projects

Viewing recent projects in Regulatory Process
  • Animals in Cost-Benefit Analysis Cover

    Animals in Cost-Benefit Analysis

    Forthcoming in the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

    Federal agencies’ cost-benefit analyses do not capture nonhuman animals’ interests. This omission matters. Cost-benefit analysis drives many regulatory decisions that substantially affect many billions of animals. That omission creates a regulatory blind spot that is untenable as a matter of morality and of policy. Valuing animals could have mattered for many cost-benefit analyses, including those for pet-food safety regulations and a rear backup camera mandate. As a sort of “proof of concept,” this Article shows that even a simple breakeven analysis from affected animals’ perspective paints even the thoroughly investigated policy decision at issue in Entergy Corp. v. Riverkeeper, Inc. in an informative new light.

    Read more

  • Major Questions in Lower Courts Cover

    Major Questions in Lower Courts

    Published in the Administrative Law Review

    In June 2022, the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which marked the first time the Court named and expressly relied on the major questions doctrine. This Article surveys how lower federal courts have interpreted West Virginia and applied the major questions doctrine. There is no one major questions doctrine in the lower courts. Judges have taken vastly different approaches to defining and applying the doctrine both within and across circuits. These differences illustrate that many judges may view the doctrine as a little more than a grab bag of factors, which they seem to be choosing from at their discretion. Lower court judges do not appear to be constrained in how they apply the doctrine. In a majority of cases concerning Biden Administration agency actions and executive orders, judges applied the doctrine to reach outcomes that aligned with the political party of their appointing President.

    Read more

  • Supplemental Comments to NHTSA on Proposed Vehicle Fuel-Economy Rule

    In August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed to strengthen vehicle fuel-economy standards. Since then, the Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its update to the social cost of greenhouse gases and the Office of Management and Budget has finalized its revisions to Circular A-4. In light of these updates, we submitted a supplemental comment letter reasserting our call for NHTSA to assess regulatory impacts using the best available economics.

    Read more

  • Supplemental Comments to CEQ on Climate Change Guidance

    Earlier this year, the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) published interim guidance on analyzing climate change effects under the National Environmental Policy Act in which it endorsed using the social cost of carbon in environmental analysis. In this supplemental comment letter, we suggest that CEQ specifically endorse the Environmental Protection Agency’s newly-updated climate-damage values when it finalizes the interim guidance.

    Read more

  • Policy Integrity Scholarship and Advocacy Shapes EPA’s New Climate Damage Valuations

    On December 2nd, EPA released a new methane regulation that includes final updated values for the social cost of greenhouse gas metrics. The updated metrics align with many of the recommendations Policy Integrity made in our comments on the draft values, and our scholarship and analysis were cited heavily in the associated federal documentation.

    Read more

  • Analytical Clarity Cover

    Analytical Clarity

    How Updated Climate-Damage Values and Discount Rates Will Affect Regulatory Analysis

    Recently completed and draft guidance is ushering in updated practices for federal benefit-cost analysis. This policy brief examines the impact of two of the most significant upcoming changes: to the discount rate and the social cost of greenhouse gases.

    Read more

  • Policy Integrity Work Shapes Long-Overdue Updates to Federal Regulatory Guidance

    On November 9th, the White House finalized its revision of Circular A-4, the primary guidance on how federal agencies should assess the costs and benefits of regulations. This document plays a critical role in federal policymaking, and it had not been updated in two decades. The new guidance represents a major improvement over current practice and incorporates numerous changes that Policy Integrity has long recommended.

    Read more

  • Comments to OMB on Draft Update of Circular A-4

    This spring, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed a comprehensive update to the federal guidance document on best practices for conducting benefit-cost analysis, known as Circular A-4. Jointly with thirteen other nonprofit groups, we submitted comments commending particular aspects of the update and offering suggestions for further improvement.

    Read more

  • Making Regulations Fair Cover

    Making Regulations Fair

    How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Promote Equity and Advance Environmental Justice

    To achieve the Biden administration’s ambitious commitments to equity and environmental justice, agencies will need guidance on how to assess and weigh the distributional effects of policy options. This report recommends steps that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) can take to mainstream equity into agencies’ decisionmaking.

    Read more

  • About Time

    Recalibrating the Discount Rate for the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (Working Paper)

    In light of recent evidence, a new range of discount rates appropriate for calculating the social cost of greenhouse gases could be conservatively estimated as between 0.5%-2.5%, with a central estimate of 1.5%. Agencies should follow the Interagency Working Group’s guidance on applying new social cost of greenhouse gas estimates based on updated discount rates—and will need to justify their choices, including any departures from prior practices.

    Read more