Prospective or ex ante studies of the costs, benefits, and distributional impacts of new environmental regulations are now commonly performed in many countries. Retrospective analyses, which aim to document actual outcomes, are far less common. The purpose of this policy brief is to illustrate the value of retrospective analysis of environmental regulations, discuss the main challenges of conducting such studies, and make suggestions for facilitating the conduct of retrospective analyses. We examine recent examples of ex post analyses of three sets of U.S. regulations—the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Cluster Rule, the NOx Budget Program, and federal gasoline content regulations—and British Columbia’s carbon tax. Based on this review, we offer some lessons for facilitating future retrospective analysis of environmental regulations.
Report — May 15, 2020
Primer on Costs of Action/Inaction and Communication to Policymakers
A Review of Methodologies to Support Future Decisionmaking in Comparing the Cost of Inaction with the Cost of Action in the Context of African ChemObs
Journal Article — May 6, 2020
Measuring Energy Efficiency: Accounting for the Hidden Costs of Product Failure
This article explores issues plaguing appliances that yielded lower cost savings than projected in Department of Energy's (DOE) ex ante analyses, and recommends reconsideration of costs of operation and repair in conducting retrospective analyses of DOE energy efficiency standards.
Resources Radio — Apr 21, 2020
Lessons from 50 Years of the Clean Air Act, with Maureen Cropper
Maureen Cropper assesses the costs and benefits of varying Clean Air Act programs and reflects on how the law can guide future environmental policy.