The Mighty Waves of Regulatory Reform: Regulatory Budgets and the Future of Cost-Benefit Analysis

In the past 70 or 80 years, there have been three “waves” of reforms to the process of creating and managing U.S. federal and state regulations. The first wave began in 1946 with the passage of the federal Administrative Procedure Act, after which states went on to pass and formalize their own administrative procedures. The second wave began decades later in the mid-1970s, ushering in the era of cost-benefit analysis reforms for regulations. This article focuses on the third wave of regulatory reforms that appears to be sweeping the nation and includes a prediction that the next wave may include a return to some unsettled issues from the past.