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Retrospective Review of Risk-Based Regulations Open Access

The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center has identified retrospective review of regulations, particularly those aimed at reducing health, safety, and environmental risk, as a key research priority. As President Obama observed, “during challenging economic times …it is particularly important for agencies to conduct retrospective analyses of existing rules to examine whether they remain justified and whether they should be modified or streamlined in light of changed circumstances...” Yet effective retrospective review of regulation remains elusive, and too often, exante predictions of regulatory outcomes (reductions in health risks, benefits and costs) are not verified with empirical data ex post. To generate constructive recommendations to address this problem, RSC organized a conference on Capitol Hill to explore the possible reasons for the lack of ex post evaluation, and examine approaches to improve both the analytical tools for measuring actual effects of risk-reducing regulation, and the incentives to do so.

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