Speed Reads

Your tax dollars at work

Study: Federal agencies don't check whether their new regulations are even working

Each year the federal government publishes between 2,500 and 4,500 new regulations. Do the new rules accomplish their intended goals? That's a good question — but it's not one those same agencies can typically answer.

"While agencies often provide a wealth of information on the anticipated effects of their rules, they seldom return to a rule to evaluate whether the benefits and costs they anticipated actually materialized," researchers at the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University (GWU) found. This analysis is typically not revisited after regulations are implemented, and the agencies do not "design their rules to aid retrospective review."

The GWU study focused its attention on 22 economically significant rules introduced in 2014. "Of the 22 rules we examined, not a single one included a plan for review," the study concluded.