OIRA and the Future of Cost-Benefit Analysis

May 21, 2020

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed an executive order giving the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) the authority to review executive agencies’ regulations. That executive order and its successor, which President Bill Clinton signed in 1993, have also required agencies to analyze the costs and benefits of their most significant regulations.

Ever since assuming its role in the regulatory process, OIRA, located in the Executive Office of the President, has had to balance two missions.

The first of those missions, and the one most frequently associated with OIRA, has been to safeguard the analytical integrity of the cost-benefit analyses performed by agencies. This mission means that OIRA has largely been staffed by economists or those with significant economic training. (I was an OIRA desk officer and manager from 1998-2003.)

Opinion by Stuart Shairp, The Regulatory Review, May 19, 2020

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