Improving Regulation: Start with the Analysis and Work from There

Robert Hahn and
Robert Hahn
Robert Hahn Director of Economics - Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, Former Brookings Expert
Robert E. Litan

June 15, 2000

Executive Summary

This testimony reviews research from the Joint Center on regulatory impact analyses and provides five recommendations for improving the regulatory process. These recommendations include: making regulatory impact analyses publicly available on the Internet; providing a regulatory impact summary table for each regulatory impact analysis that includes information on costs, benefits, technical information, and whether the regulation is likely to pass a benefit-cost test; establishing an agency or office outside the executive branch to assess independently existing and proposed federal rules; requiring that the head of a regulatory agency balance the benefits and costs of a proposed regulation; and requiring that all regulatory agencies adhere to established principles of economic analysis when doing a regulatory impact analysis.


We are pleased to appear before this subcommittee to provide our views on improving regulation and the regulatory process. We have studied and written about regulatory institutions for over two decades. Two years ago, we helped organize a cooperative effort between the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution to study regulation. The result was the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies.

A primary objective of the center is to hold lawmakers and regulators more accountable by providing thoughtful, objective analysis of existing regulatory programs and new regulatory proposals. The Joint Center has been in the forefront of outlining principles for improving regulation, enhancing economic welfare, and promoting regulatory accountability.