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Faculty scholarship cited in government recommendation

February 05, 2018

Scholarship by three Penn Law faculty members, Cary Coglianese, Jonah Gelbach, and Jonathan Klick has been featured in a recent government recommendation by the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS).

The recommendation — “Learning from Regulatory Experience” — was adopted in December by ACUS, an independent “good government” agency within the federal government. ACUS summarizes its recent recommendation on regulatory learning by saying that it “offers advice to agencies on learning from different regulatory approaches. It encourages agencies to collect data, conduct analysis at all stages of the rulemaking lifecycle (from pre-rule analysis to retrospective review), and solicit public input at appropriate points in the process.”

Coglianese is the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science and an expert on regulation and regulatory processes. He is also the Director of the Penn Program on Regulation. Coglianese is also a public member of ACUS and chair of its rulemaking committee.

Gelbach is a Professor of Law and a scholar of civil procedure, statutory interpretation, law and economics, event study methodology, applied statistical methodology, and applied microeconomics.

Klick is a Professor of Law whose work focuses on identifying the causal effects of laws and regulations on individual behavior using cutting-edge econometric tools.

At various places in its recommendation, ACUS cites Penn Law faculty research for support for the kinds of methods and research approaches that ACUS urges federal agencies to pursue in moving toward a more evidence-based approach to regulation. As the recommendation states:

Agencies need information about the problems that new rules will address, such as the risks involved and their causes. But agencies also need information about potential solutions to these problems. What possible alternative rules or rule designs might help solve the problems? How effective are these alternatives likely to be in addressing the underlying problems? Are there constraints, barriers, or unanticipated consequences that arise in the use of these different alternatives? In terms of understanding possible alternatives and how well they might work in practice, agencies benefit from having information from experience with different solutions. Learning from experience is the focus of this recommendation.

Penn Law faculty have been previously involved in the development of ACUS recommendations. For example, Coglianese’s research has informed several previous ACUS recommendations, and Gelbach recently co-authored a study on Social Security litigation commissioned by ACUS which resulted in an additional recommendation.

In addition, Professor of Law Emeritus Frank Goodman served as the Research Director for ACUS from 1972-1973. More recently, Matthew Wiener, the current acting chairman as well as the vice chairman and executive director of ACUS, has served as a lecturer at Penn Law, teaching courses on administrative law and congressional-judicial interactions.

Read the full recommendation “Learning from Regulatory Experience.”