Dissecting the Debate Over Regulation

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Commentators debate central questions about the role of regulations in society.

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Federal regulatory policy has long divided policymakers. Critics of regulation decry a powerful “administrative state” imposing costly requirements that burden the economy. Regulation’s defenders celebrate a professional bureaucracy designing rules that yield significant net benefits, both in economic and social welfare terms.

But distinguishing rhetoric from analysis can be difficult for members of the public.

This series of essays frames some of the central questions in the ongoing debate about the role of regulations in society: How do regulators and the public account for the costs and benefits of regulations? Who ultimately should drive regulatory policy—Congress or expert executive branch officials? How can regulators improve the process for developing regulations?

In this series, Richard L. Revesz and Ross Marchand debate these questions as they relate to environmental regulation. The series begins with an essay Revesz published previously in The Regulatory Review to which Marchand submitted a response. Revesz’s rebuttal to Marchand concludes the series.

Revesz is the Lawrence King Professor of Law and dean emeritus at the New York University School of Law, and Marchand is the director of policy at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

The Regulatory Review is pleased to highlight this series assessing the regulatory process.

Challenging the Anti-Regulatory Narrative

July 23, 2018 | Richard L. Revesz, New York University School of Law

Over the last decade, critics of the regulatory state have complained that an out-of-control executive branch has harmed the American people by hampering economic growth and that Congress needs to reassert itself to constrain this misbehavior. I disagree with both the diagnosis of the illness and the cure.

Regulatory Process in Dire Need of Reform

October 3, 2018 | Ross Marchand, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Modern regulations rely on dubious accounting and were created afoul of the law. Corrective legislation such as the Regulatory Accountability Act is necessary to counter this tide of ill-conceived, ill-propagated regulations.

Responding to Anti-Regulatory Tropes

October 4, 2018 | Richard L. Revesz, New York University School of Law

Had Marchand written a piece about how the regulatory process could be improved, I might have had no qualms. But Marchand has a very different goal here: to sow distrust and opposition to a set of measures that have made Americans much better off than they would otherwise have been. On this score, our perspectives could not be more different.