The essay “The introduction of Regulatory Impact Assessment in American Independent Regulatory Commissions” (by Maria Sole Porpora) aims at suggesting what impact would cause the introduction of an important procedural tool – the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) – towards American independent regulatory commissions (IRC).
Recently, some senators have tried to pass a Bill that would force IRCs to assess the impact of their most relevant rules and to submit them to OIRA, a Cabinet office of the President. Surprisingly,
though the USA have been pioneers in the introduction of RIA, they have limited its enforcement to federal agencies, whereas most Western countries have far back compelled their regulatory bodies to meet such requirements.
The resistances to change rest on the fear that the reform would curb and centralize the regulatory power IRCs hold. Indeed, governments can manipulate RIA to meet multiple objectives, such as controlling the bureaucracy, introducing reforms or rationality in the administration, or simply giving constituencies the impression of fulfilling their demand for better regulation.
Therefore, the outcome United States want to pursue largely depends on the institutional framework and on how RIA requirements are shaped. Thus, after presenting the different functions of impact assessment (§2) and the institutional framework (§3), the essay focuses on the different impact of RIA on federal agencies (§4) and independent commissions (§5-6). In conclusion, the essay explains that, whereas RIA has traditionally served political control objectives, its enforcement toward independent commissions might promote rationality and efficiency within the administration.
Extract taken from “The introduction of Regulatory Impact Assessment in American Independent Regulatory Commissions”, by Maria Sole Porpora