June, 2005

eRulemaking: A Case Example of eGov Transformation

  • Susan Dudley

    Director, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center
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Economists and political scientists have long recognized that the benefits of regulation tend to be biased toward well-organized interest groups, sometimes at the expense of the broader public interest. This is because small interest groups with strongly felt preferences often can invest the resources necessary to effect regulatory policy. The costs of regulation, on the other hand, are dispersed widely among the public, so individuals do not have the same incentive to invest the necessary resources to influence policy outcomes. A more transparent rulemaking infrastructure could lower the cost and increase real public involvement in the development of regulations.

This working paper examines how the U.S. eRulemaking initiative offers new and expanding opportunities for the public to get involved in the regulatory process. As the U.S. eRulemaking project moves forward, economists can anticipate further enhancements to public participation, new rule-writing tools, greater government accountability, more timely actions, and ultimately, better regulatory decisions affecting the economic vitality, safety, health, and environment of our common future.

The ideas presented in this research are the author's and do not represent official positions of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.