M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 148

Evaluating the Economic Impacts of the U.S. Regulatory Systems

Hilary Gelfond



The purpose of the United States regulatory system is to protect the safety, health and wellbeing of American consumers and the environment. Regulation corrects market failures and promotes other social purposes. A well functioning regulatory system ensures that these standards protect Americans without causing significant market distortions.
This report will answer the fundamental question: how should the impact of the federal regulatory system be evaluated? It will draw on concepts from economics, public finance and law to systematically evaluate past approaches domestically and internationally. The report will examine the feasibility of a process known as retrospective review, which evaluates the impact of regulations after they have been implemented and attempts to eliminate those that are repetitive or ineffective. A complimentary approach is to measure the cumulative burden of regulation to estimate the economic costs of compliance with the aim of finding ways to minimize burdens for businesses and individuals.

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