by James Broughel, Jerry Ellig
Mercatus Center
February 22, 2012
For more than three decades, presidents have instructed federal agencies to consider a wide variety of alternatives to regulation as well as alternative types of regulation. Agency compliance has been uneven at best—largely because agencies often decide what regulation to issue before they even consider alternatives. Agencies sometimes do examine the pros and cons of alternatives, but this is the exception rather than the rule. To remedy this problem, regulatory process reforms should require agencies to thoroughly analyze alternatives and publish that analysis for public comment before they propose a regulation.

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