Regulatory impact analysis (RIA) weighs the benefits of regulatory proposals against the burdens they impose. Government agencies develop RIAs before issuing significant new regulations, and non-governmental interests may also present their own analyses of how different policies will affect outcomes. However, dense or complex RIAs can be challenging for policy officials and interested parties to comprehend and interpret, making it difficult to distinguish facts from conjecture and to understand the likely consequences of alternative policy choices. While numerous technical guidelines exist to aid development of RIAs, none is geared toward non-specialist policymakers and interested stakeholders who will be reading RIAs as consumers. This guide attempts to fill that gap. It first reviews the purpose of RIA, and then offers policy makers and other consumers of RIAs 10 tips for asking informed questions when reviewing and interpreting them.
Susan Dudley (The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center), Richard Belzer (Regulatory Checkbook), Glenn Blomquist (University of Kentucky), Timothy Brennan (Resources for the Future), Christopher Carrigan (The George Washington University), Joseph Cordes (The George Washington University), Louis A. Cox (Cox Associates), Arthur Fraas (Resources for the Future), John Graham (Indiana University), George Gray (The George Washington University), James Hammitt (Harvard University), Kerry Krutilla (Indiana University), Peter Linquiti (The George Washington University), Randall Lutter (University of Virginia/Resources for the Future), Brian Mannix (George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center), Stuart Shapiro (Rutgers University), Anne Smith (NERA Economic Consulting), W. Kip Viscusi (Vanderbilt University), and Richard Zerbe (University of Washington)