The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

726. Cass Sunstein, Empirically Informed Regulation, 08/2012; subsequently published in University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 78, Issue 4, Fall 2011, 1133-1685.

Abstract: In recent years, social scientists have been incorporating empirical findings about human behavior into economic models. These findings offer important insights for thinking about regulation and its likely consequences. They also offer some suggestions about the appropriate design of effective, low-cost, choice-preserving approaches to regulatory problems, including disclosure requirements, default rules, and simplification. A general lesson is that small, inexpensive policy initiatives can have large and highly beneficial effects. In the United States, a large number of recent practices and reforms reflect an appreciation of this lesson. They also reflect an understanding of the need to ensure that regulations have strong empirical foundations, both through careful analysis of costs and benefits in advance and through retrospective review of what works and what does not.


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