Cost-Benefit and Regulatory Economics

 In the aftermath of the enactment in the 1960s and 1970s of historic protective legislation for consumers, workers, and the environment, business interests mounted a long-term campaign to persuade policymakers that regulatory policy decisions are so irrational that the regulatory process should be changed in order to supply the supposedly missing rationality.

What resulted was a campaign to change the rules of the game -- to freight the simple process of the Administrative Procedure Act with analytical requirements so burdensome that the terms “ossification” and “paralysis by analysis” have become ubiquitous in administrative law commentary.   The most important weapon in this battle has been the imposition of industry-biased cost-benefit beancounting.