Friday, May 18, 2012

New Executive Order on Ex Post Regulatory Review

Yesterday, President Obama issued Executive Order 13,610, which fleshes out the ex post regulatory review requirements initially imposed on executive branch agencies last year in EO 13,563. Those agencies have for several decades by required by various EOs to conduct ex ante economic analyses of proposed regulations.

I strong support the addition of ex post assessments of regulations to the existing system of ex ante regulatory impact analyses (RIAs). Arguably, ex post economic assessments are more valuable because they can be based on hard data about the relative performance of regulations over time, and provide a greater opportunity for learning about what kinds of regulations work best in different circumstances.

What EO 13,610 specifically adds are requirements for public input, including taking suggestions about which regulations should be reviewed and how they might be modified in light of review. The EO also requires agencies to prioritize regulatory review based on the potential cost-savings, reductions in regulatory burdens (consistent with statutory requirements), and paperwork reductions. Agencies are to report to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the President's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) twice each year on their regulatory review efforts.

The only part of this new EO that concerns me is the biannual reporting requirement, which could consume a large number of staff-hours that might be better devoted to other matters. It's not clear to me that reporting once a year would be insufficient.

The new EO can be read here.

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