Evaluating Regulatory Impact Assessments in Education Policy

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



Benefit–cost analysis is an important part of regulatory decision-making, yet there are questions as to how often and how well it is performed. Here we examine 28 Regulatory Impact Assessments performed by the federal government on education regulations since 2006. We find many Regulatory Impact Assessments estimated costs, albeit using informal methods, but most failed to adequately report benefits. Also, most studies did not estimate net present value or clearly report methodological assumptions. In reviewing the relatively high quality studies we identified a number of discrepancies from best practice. Most importantly, few Regulatory Impact Assessments attempted a social benefit–cost analysis: Most examined “administrative burdens” from compliance with legislation. This alternative focus on administrative burdens has significant implications for economic evaluation in practice.


benefit–cost analysis, educational evaluation, regulatory analysis, policy analysis



Date Posted: 19 May 2023

This document has been peer reviewed.