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Improving the Accountability of Federal Regulatory Agencies, Part III: What Reforms Work Best Open Access

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Eight major U.S. government reform initiatives failed to significantly improve the accountability of federal agencies. This third of a three-part series identifies (1) lack of sustained leadership and (2) unfaithful execution by agencies as two reasons for these failures. The problem of inadequate leadership could be addressed by adopting more modest reforms (incrementalism) and/or codifying the reform(s) into law. The obstacle of unfaithful execution could be overcome by creating or engaging an objective third party to implement or enforce implementation of the reform and/or creating competition among agencies that provides incentives for embracing reform. Using these lessons, three characteristics of regulatory reforms that will work are identified: codification in law; creation of an independent organization to help execute the law; and establishing a framework for interagency competition.

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