Preface by Alan Carlin
This report (Regulatory Economic Analysis at the EPA, or REAs) is intended to fulfill two objectives simultaneously:
(1) Update and supplement a 1987 report by the Environmental Protection Agency entitled EPA's Use of Benefit-Cost Analysis 1981-1986. If you are using the report for this objective you will probably find it most convenient to use the table of contents view to access individual sections of the report.
(2) Provide an introduction to an extensive database developed by EPA over the last decade containing reports prepared by EPA containing economic analyses of EPA regulations, proposed regulations, and other initiatives. This database, the Regulatory Economic Analyses Inventory (REAI), contains regulatory impact analyses (RIAs), economic impact analyses (EIAs), economic analyses (EAs), and other similar economic reports prepared by the Agency since the 1970s. If you are using the report for this objective you will probably find it most convenient to use the media view to access individual sections of the report since this view organizes the report using the topics shown in the main assessment topic view of the REAI.
(1) Although the 1987 report is organized a little differently, the following table shows the corresponding sections of the 1987 report for each section of this report:
(2) This report provides an introduction to the REAI database in two ways:
(a) By summarizing and linking regulatory economic analyses, and
(b) By summarizing the major reviews that have been done involving EPA economic analyses and providing links to these reports.
(a) Sections 4 through 6 of this report provide summaries for and links to 12 economic analyses done in a somewhat similar form. By following the links in the above table to each of the 14 appendices to the 1987 report, summaries and links are actually available for a total of 26 of the economic analyses to be found in the REAI database. In addition, several of the reviews of the RIA process discussed in Section 7 assess other RIAs. Taken together, these reports provides an introduction to a small but significant sample of the more than 1,200 economic analyses in the database. Specifically, a total of 25 economic analyses are summarized in these reports:
(b) Since, despite these many summaries, it is still difficult to characterize adequately all the reports in the database, the last section of this report summarizes findings of other researchers who have examined some or many of these economic analyses. Where these reviews discuss individual economic assessments in the REAI database, links are provided to these records.
It should be noted that recently, the term regulatory impact analysis has begun to be replaced by economic assessment (EA), reflecting the fact that the requirements of the 1994 Executive Order 12866 differ from those of Executive Order 12291, the 1981 order of President Reagan that called for a RIAs of major federal health, safety and environmental rules.
The REAI database may be viewed as a companion to the Environmental Economics Reports Inventory (EERI), whcich houses over 500 economic reports. The key distinctions are that the REAI contains studies conducted to support rulemakings, whereas the EERI contains studies that were done for or by the Economy and Environment Program and its predecessors and are generally directed towards the development of methods, data, and tools that would be applicable in a wide range of contexts, including rulemakings. This review of the REAI database is highly selective out of necessity rather than choice, given the more than 1200 reports in the database. A quick look through this document should give the reader a good idea of the purpose, contents and potential utility of the database, as well as direction in finding reports on topics of interest.
Sections 4, 5, and 6 of this report build on the Assessment Topic view in the REAI database, as it is organized according to the same general media areas used in the database.