September, 2008

The Role of Economists in the Federal Regulatory Process

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Every proposed health and safety regulation offers both costs and benefits. To an economist, the desirability of a new regulation rests squarely on whether the latter outweighs the former. Cost-benefit analyses is the economist's workhorse in determining the likely efficiency of a given policy change. However, economists must compete to be heard among others within federal health and safety agencies, wrestling with legal, political, and social constraints in the regulatory process.