White House Review of Regulation: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Penn Law School | December 6, 2006

Each year, federal agencies like the FAA, EPA, OSHA, and FDA issue thousands of new regulations that touch upon nearly every aspect of our lives, affecting the safety of our food, air, and water, the security of our airlines and neighborhoods, and ultimately the health of the nation's economy. For the past quarter century, in both Republican and Democratic Administrations, the White House has scrutinized every new proposal for a major federal regulation through its Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). How well has the practice of White House review of rulemaking through OIRA served the nation? How might the review process be improved so as to strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of important federal regulations? Panel members will explore these and other questions about Presidential oversight of the regulatory state.

On this 25th anniversary of the establishment of this often controversial form of White House regulatory review, Penn Law is convening both an academic symposium as well as the largest public gathering of the individuals who have served as OIRA Administrator, the Presidential appointee commonly referred to as the nation's "Regulatory Czar." Click here for a transcript of the panel discussion with these former White House regulatory administrators.

Academic Symposium
Room: Pepper Hall 101F | 3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

3:00 - 3:15 p.m. Welcome and Introduction
3:15 - 4:15 p.m. Panel I: What Do We Know About OIRA Review?


Robert Hahn, AEI-Brookings, "What Do We Know about Regulatory Oversight?"
View Bio (PDF) | View Paper (PDF)

Scott Farrow, University of Maryland, "Evaluating Central Regulatory Institutions with an Application to the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs"
View Bio (PDF) | View Paper (PDF)

Commentator: Cynthia Farina, Cornell Law School
4:15-4:30 p.m. Break
4:30-5:30 p.m. Panel II: How Can OIRA Review Be Improved?


Robert Stavins, Harvard University, "On the Value of Formal Assessment of Uncertainty in Regulatory Analysis"
View Bio (PDF) | View Paper (PDF)

Stuart Shapiro, Rutgers University, "Assessing the Benefits and Costs of Regulatory Reform"
View Bio (PDF) | View Paper (PDF)

Commentator: Matthew Adler, Penn Law

Public Forum
Presidential Oversight: A Panel Discussion with Regulatory 'Czars' from Reagan to Bush
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Room: Gittis Hall 213

OIRA Administrator Panelists:

  • James C. Miller III (1981; Reagan Administration), Chair of the USPS Board of Governors
    View Bio (PDF)
  • Wendy Lee Gramm (1984-1985; Reagan Administration), Distinguished Senior Scholar, Mercatus Center, George Mason University
    View Bio (PDF)
  • Sally Katzen (1993-1998; Clinton Administration), Visiting Professor, George Mason University School of Law
    View Bio (PDF)
  • John Spotila (1999-2000; Clinton Administration), Chief Executive Officer, R3I Solutions
    View Bio (PDF)
  • John Graham (2001-2006; Bush Administration), Dean, Pardee Rand Graduate School
    View Bio (PDF)

Moderator: Cary Coglianese, Penn Law