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Defragmenting the Regulatory Process


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Stuart Shapiro, Bloustein School of Planning and Policy, Rutgers University, NJ, USA;


The regulatory process is often criticized for being cumbersome and slow, much like a computer whose hard drive is fragmented by files no longer used or useful. Like such a computer, the regulatory process contains many requirements of dubious utility. These include the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and numerous executive orders. While other parts of the regulatory process such as notice and comment and cost-benefit analysis have received much more academic attention, these other parts of the process deserve examination as well. This article argues that such an examination will reveal that these statutes and executive orders add little of value to the regulatory process while consuming agency resources. An improved requirement for cost-benefit analysis with distributional analysis could easily replace virtually all of these requirements and improve regulations while reducing the time needed to promulgate regulations.