Notice & Comment

Re-Imagining OIRA: A Call for Papers on the Future of Regulatory Budgets, Cost-Benefit Analysis, and White House Regulatory Oversight


As the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs nears its fortieth birthday, we tend to spend a lot of time thinking about its history. But in a constitutional government that is nearly 230 years old, OIRA is actually very, very young—less a monument than an experiment.

Instead of thinking just about its history, we ought to think about its future. We should ask, how should OIRA be improved and modernized?

Or, more interestingly: if we were to completely rethink White House regulatory oversight, and design it from scratch today, what would it look like?

I don’t mean these as simply rhetorical questions. Rather, the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State, at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, is calling for papers under this broad overarching subject: for papers on Executive Order 13771‘s regulatory budgets and 2-for-1 standard; or on the future of cost-benefit analysis; or on the general state of White House regulatory oversight; or on similar subjects. If you are interested in writing a paper, then please read on.

Each year, the Gray Center (which I direct) organizes four major research initiatives. Each one precedes in two stages:

First, we convene a private “research roundtable,” a workshop at which five to seven authors present early-stage drafts, outlining their basic arguments.

Second, several months later, the authors return to the Scalia Law School for a public policy conference, to discuss revised drafts of their papers with a variety of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers.

(On December 7, for example, the Gray Center will host a public policy conference titled “New Normals? The Trump Administration, the Courts, and Administrative Law,” with papers on nationwide injunctions, presidential statements, environmental deregulation, and “Civil Servant Disobedience.” Preliminary versions of the papers were discussed at a research roundtable several months ago.)

Our OIRA program will begin with a private research roundtable on March 7, at the Scalia Law School in Arlington, Va. Authors will present very-preliminary drafts briefly outlining the basic vision of their paper. Five months later, on September 12, the authors will return to the Scalia Law School to present full drafts of their papers at a public policy conference.

If you are interested in writing a paper, then please email me. Happily, the Center pays an honorarium for each accepted paper.

Adam White directs the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.

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