The Real Outcomes of Federal Environmental Regulations: Lessons from the Performance Data

Experts at this forum discussed valuable lessons for the development of new regulations, especially related to market-based instruments, new technologies, coordination of federal and state activities, and more.


Oct. 21, 2015


1:00–5:00 p.m. ET


Richard D. Morgenstern, Margaret Taylor, Aaron Smith, Wayne Gray, Maureen L. Cropper, Randall Lutter, Erik Nelson, Arthur G. Fraas, Richard Schmalensee, Albert McGartland, David Hawkins, Cary Coglianese, and Susan Dudley

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Before federal environmental regulations are issued, they are subject to extensive analysis to estimate the costs, benefits, and other outcomes. However, remarkably little is known about the actual performance of such regulations after the final rules are announced. For instance:

  • Do they achieve substantial gains?
  • If so, how do the realized gains compare with the anticipated gains?
  • Are the realized costs in line with the expected costs?

Experts at this forum will present the results of RFF’s Regulatory Performance Initiative, a multi-year effort to analyze the actual impacts of a series of regulations issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy, Department of the Interior (DOI), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The results contain valuable lessons for the development of future regulations, especially related to the following:

  • use of market-based instruments;
  • analysis of new, unproven technologies;
  • possible use of “stress tests” for certain types of regulations;
  • coordination of federal and state activities; and
  • approaches to carrying out future retrospective regulatory analyses.

Reception to follow.

Note: This event will not be webcast contrary to the notice at the top of the page.

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