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OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2018

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Laws and regulations govern the everyday life of businesses and citizens, and are important tools of public policy. Regulating has never been easy, but the overwhelming pace of technological change and unprecedented interconnectedness of economies has made it a daunting task. The 2018 Regulatory Policy Outlook, the second in the series, maps country efforts to improve regulatory quality in line with the 2012 OECD Recommendation on Regulatory Policy and Governance, and shares good regulatory practices. It provides unique insights into the organisation and institutional settings in countries for designing, enforcing and revising regulations. It also highlights areas of the regulatory cycle that receive too little attention from policy makers. Finally, it identifies areas where countries can invest to improve the quality of laws and regulations and presents innovative approaches to better regulation.

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United States

The Administrative Procedure Act governs the rulemaking process in the U.S., requiring agencies to provide public notice and seek comment when proposing new regulations or revising or repealing existing ones. Agencies must consider the comments and in the final rule explain how they addressed significant issues raised by commenters. A final rule is subject to judicial review to ensure it conforms with legal requirements, including those concerning notice and comment. The evaluation of regulatory costs and benefits is well developed in the U.S. RIAs are required for all significant regulatory proposals, and full RIAs are required for proposals with annual impacts over USD 100 million. Ex post evaluation of subordinate regulations is mandatory since 2011. A stock-flow linkage rule introduced in 2017 requires agencies to issue two deregulatory actions for every regulatory action, in a way that the total cost of regulations does not exceed the agency’s Fiscal Year Cost Allowance, as approved by the Office of Management and Budget. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) located within the Executive Office of the President provides oversight and guidance on the implementation of ex post evaluations and the stock-flow linkage rule. The U.S. could benefit from strengthening the link between ex ante and ex post evaluation, for example by requiring regulators to identify a process for assessing progress in achieving a regulation’s goals as part of RIA or by mandating a post-implementation review for regulations exempted from RIA.

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