This article investigates the role of cost-benefit analysis during an antiregulatory period. The period since 2016 has seen several new developments, including the first vigorous use by Congress of its power to overturn recently issued regulations and the creation of novel deregulatory mechanisms layered on top of cost-benefit analysis. This period also contains important examples of sharply reversed CBAs, in which regulations that were said to have large net benefits under Obama are instead said to have net costs under Trump. The Trump Administration’s regulatory review initiatives focus heavily on costs, with limited attention to benefits. Case studies of three high-profile regulations show that the economic analysis of one is seriously defective, another admits to having severe limitations, and a third systematically reduces the scale of benefits. Some of these characteristics may be analytically defensible, others seemingly are not. It is even harder to connect Congress’s recent uses of the Congressional Review Act to either a concern about net benefits or even a desire to reduce the economic burdens of regulation. Thus, cost-benefit analysis seems overall a marginal part of current regulatory policymaking.
Daniel A. Farber,
Regulatory Review in Anti-Regulatory Times,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol94/iss2/7