Benefits, Costs, and Other Important Stuff – Demystifying Regulatory Analysis

Nov 09, 2011
Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-339

Event Speakers

Jerry Ellig

Former Senior Research Fellow

Please join the Mercatus Center’s Capitol Hill Campus and Senior Research Fellow Jerry Ellig for a discussion on the economic concepts behind the buzzwords of regulatory analysis.

Regulation is a high priority in Congress as committees conduct regulatory oversight hearings and members introduce legislation focused on regulatory reform. Assessing the pros and cons of any regulation or regulatory-reform proposal requires some basic familiarity with the terms and techniques of regulatory analysis.

During this course, Ellig will explain the economic concepts behind the basic buzzwords of regulatory analysis—such as “benefits,” “costs,” “market failure,” and “cost-effectiveness”—and why they matter. Concepts will be illustrated through examples from actual regulatory analyses conducted by federal agencies and university scholars.

The course will answer key questions such as:

  • Why should regulatory agencies define the problem they’re trying to solve?
  • Why is regulatory analysis more than an exercise in math?
  • Are jobs a benefit of regulation, a cost of regulation, or something else?
  • What the heck are “transfers?” And how are they different from costs or benefits?
  • Does regulatory analysis tell us what the “right” decision is?
This event is free and open to all congressional, executive branch, and federal agency staff. This event is not open to the general public. Food will be provided. Due to space constraints, please no interns without prior approval. For any questions, please contact Julie Burden at or 703-344-3219.