Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Harrison, M. (2009). Assessing the impact of regulatory impact assessments. Agenda, 16 (3), 41-49.


In 1981 President Ronald Reagan’s Executive Order 12291 required US Federal agencies to produce a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) for all proposed major regulations — the first attempt to use RIA systematically to improve regulatory outcomes. An RIA sets out the problem the regulation addresses, the regulation’s objectives, different options to achieve them, an assessment of the impacts of each option, and the consultation undertaken, and recommends an option (usually the one with the greatest net benefit). Assessing the impact of each option could include estimating the costs and benefits, measuring business compliance costs, analysing risks and considering the effects on competition. Sometimes the document that details the RIA is called a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS).