"Congress has granted many federal agencies the authority to issue regulations that carry the force of law. This grant of authority raises the issue of how those agencies should be held accountable for the regulations they implement. One method of maintaining accountability is requiring agencies to analyze the potential effects of new regulations-sometimes called 'regulatory analysis' or 'regulatory impact analysis'-before implementing them and making the analyses public during the rulemaking process. An important and commonly performed type of regulatory analysis is a 'cost-benefit analysis' (CBA)-a systematic examination, estimation, and comparison of the economic costs and benefits resulting from the implementation of a new rule. By performing and making public such analyses, an agency demonstrates that it has given reasoned consideration to the necessity and efficacy of a rule and the effects it will have on society. […] This report examines issues related to financial regulators and CBAs, including potential difficulties facing such regulators and methods available to them when preforming a CBA; the analytical requirements the agencies currently face; and the arguments for and against increasing requirements on financial regulators. This report also briefly describes several examples of proposed legislation that would change the requirements facing financial regulators."
CRS Report for Congress, R44813
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html