The Role of Economists in the Federal Regulatory Process

Richard Williams writes on the role of economists in the federal regulatory process.

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.