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SBCA at ASSA Annual Meeting

For the first time in its history, the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis hosted a session at the Allied Social Sciences Association Annual Meetings. More than 110 attended the January 5, 2021, panel discussion, “Regulatory Benefit-Cost Analysis – Advice for a New Presidential Term”. Panelists included Susan Dudley (Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs during the George W. Bush Administration), Michael Greenstone (Chief Economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers), Don Kenkel (Chief Economist for President Trump’s CEA), Clark Nardinelli (former Chief Economist at the Food and Drug Administration through G. W. Bush, Obama, and Trump Administrations), and Howard Shelanski (Administrator of OIRA during the Obama Administration and Chief Economists of the Federal Trade Commission during the Clinton Administration). SBCA Vice President Glenn Blomquist moderated the session.   

As many are undoubtedly aware, new President Biden signed several executive orders during his first day in office.  “Modernizing Regulatory Review” and “Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” are particularly relevant to benefit-cost analysis and can be found here. A third rescinds a number of executive orders related to regulation. Anyone who joined the SBCA session will recognize much in the new executive orders. We cannot claim causality, but much is consistent with advice given by our panelists: specific points about reaffirming BCA in Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, updating Circular A-4, reestablishing the work group on social cost of carbon, and updating it. 

"By any standard, SBCA's first foray into ASSA should be judged a success," said Kip Viscusi, Co-Director, Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics at Vanderbilt University, and past SBCA President.  

Video of the session can be viewed here