Institutionalizing cost-benefit analysis : politics in the regulatory process, 1974-1981

Date

1983

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Abstract

The dissertation describes and analyzes the political struggle surrounding the efforts of the past three administrations to institutionalize policy analysis in executive branch regulatory agencies. This is not an attempt to determine how to do cost-benefit analysis, but rather an effort to understand why the policy evaluation program was instituted in the economic regulatory policy making process, and to assess its impact. The lines of inquiry are directed to finding out what the government does in utilizing CBA, the reasons for its use, and what difference it makes in economic regulatory policy making. An exploratory research design is employed to provide the sufficient scope and flexibility needed to assess the numerous political aspects of the cost-benefit evaluation program not as yet studied. The methodology is eclectic to admit the application of any approach to the data that premises insight. The study begins with a descriptive analysis of the institutional setting which gave rise to the demand for cost-benefit analysis. The politics of the policy formation process if then described and analyzed. After this, the policy statements issued in conjunction with cost-benefit analysis, the administrative organization of the program, and an analysis of its implementation is presented for the Ford, Carter, and Reagan Administrations. The dissertation concludes with a summary of the findings expressed in the form of propositions to facilitate further research.

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Keywords

Administrative agencies--United States--Management--Decision-making, Public administration--Decision making, Executive departments--United States--Management--Decision-making

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