Understanding the real-world impact of regulation
Impact Stories
November 24, 2021 – Economic Progress

Understanding the real-world impact of regulation


For more than a decade, the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center has worked to raise awareness of the effects of regulation and to improve regulatory policy.

Regulatory policy may seem like an arcane topic, but it affects virtually every aspect of our lives. While government rules can address important public goals, they can harm productivity and inhibit human flourishing if carelessly targeted and poorly designed.

The George Washington (GW) University Regulatory Studies Center has assembled a roster of experts who tackle these difficult policy challenges. Its scholars represent a diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds, and all are committed to analyzing, understanding, and educating the public about the real-world impacts of regulation, good or bad.

Founded in 2009, the Center is part of GW’s highly ranked Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. It brings academic rigor to real policy issues, and works to improve regulatory policy through research, education, and outreach. 

The Center has earned respect from scholars, policymakers, and journalists in the United States and across the globe. Federal agencies and popular media also seek the Center’s academic research and expertise, and Center scholars translate their research in opinion pieces that appear in such outlets as the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. Scholars also file comments aimed at improving regulations before they are published. 

Harvard Professor Cass Sunstein, former Obama administration Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs administrator and current senior official in the Biden Department of Homeland Security, is among the Center’s admirers. “The GW Regulatory Studies Center has done phenomenal work in cataloguing and analyzing reforms in regulatory policy… [it is] a national treasure,” Sunstein said.

In a joint letter, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators thanked Center director Susan Dudley, writing, “Your input and expertise during the drafting of the Early Participation in Regulations Act of 2019 and SMART Act of 2019 was invaluable.”

Since its founding, the Center has earned a nonpartisan reputation as an objective and reliable source of information and analysis. Its well-attended educational events feature a diverse group of members of Congress, senior officials from different administrations, foreign dignitaries, and scholars from a gamut of disciplines. Convening such a diverse set of perspectives in the nation’s capital has allowed the Center to serve as a hub for applied scholarship on regulatory policy and practice where people across disciplines, backgrounds, and viewpoints overcome polarization and partisanship to find agreement that can lead to real policy changes.

“All of us in the Center share a commitment to thinking seriously and critically about today’s important policy challenges and to illuminating the unintended, as well as intended, effects of regulatory interventions,” said Susan Dudley, who founded the Center after serving as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the George W. Bush administration. “I’m proud of the experience and expertise our team brings to regulatory policy and practice in the U.S. and around the world.”