Federal agencies frequently provide no justification for their analytical time frame when analyzing the costs and benefits of a policy. This is true even when there are costs and benefits that clearly occur beyond the time frame chosen by the agency. In so doing, agencies risk overlooking key long-term impacts that may justify more stringent regulation.
This report argues that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) should take steps to improve how agencies consider analytical time frames in their cost-benefit analyses.
Yale Journal on Regulation
This article explores the legal and economic considerations for updating discount rates and details the compelling economic evidence for lowering the current default rates for regulatory analyses. It argues that a declining discount rate framework can consistently harmonize agency practices and so put agencies on sound legal footing in their approach to valuing the future.
A “Reasoned Consistency” Response to the Trump Administration’s Regulatory Shell Game
Published in the NYU Environmental Law Journal, the article analyzes the inconsistent manner in which the Trump administration dealt with cost-benefit analysis, federalism, and the treatment of dirty, old sources of pollution in the design of environmental policy. The article finds that though inconsistencies across different regulations— as opposed to inconsistencies within a single regulation—have not been a core concern of the Administrative Procedure Act, its prohibition on “arbitrary and capricious” agency action is sufficiently capacious to embrace egregious inconsistencies.
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.
Rethinking OIRA for the Next Administration
In recent years, federal leadership has distorted the practice of regulatory analysis and has eroded the integrity of the government’s regulatory review structure as coordinated by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). The result has been a torrent of deregulatory actions that have worked against the best interests of the American people and their health, safety, environment, and financial well-being. Our report details the path forward on regulatory review, which is to first surgically excise recent distortions, and then to reaffirm the best principles and practices from the past, while adding key corrections and enhancements. Implementing the reforms recommended in this report will refocus OIRA on helping agencies once again use regulations to maximize net social welfare.
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