Reviewing Retrospective Regulatory Review (2015-2016)

How well do regulations actually work—and, in turn, how well do government reviews of regulatory impacts actually work?

This project team studied the emerging efforts of government agencies throughout the world to evaluate the actual impacts of their regulatory programs—so-called “retrospective regulatory review.” Team members formulated five research questions: What kinds of retrospective regulatory reviews are governments and other bodies conducting? What methodologies do these reviews adopt? Which regulations are being reviewed and why? Which regulatory impacts do reviewers try to assess? Who does (or should do) the retrospective reviews?

Through substantive case studies at the local, national and international levels, team members examined current practices and how to improve them. They conducted interviews in Washington with officials at several federal agencies and drafted a signature Duke report on retrospective regulatory review.


Summer 2015 – Spring 2016

Team Outcomes

The Politics of the Regulatory Policymaking Process: Three Essays on Governments, Markets, and Effective Regulatory Governance (Public Policy dissertation by Mercy DeMenno, 2018)

Adaptive Regulatory Impact Assessment: Beyond the Foresight-Hindsight Divide (SJD dissertation by Daniel Ribeiro, 2018)

Between Fraud Heaven and Tort Hell: The Business, Politics, and Law of Lawsuits (History dissertation by Anna Johns Hrom, 2018)

Jonathan B. Wiener and Daniel Ribeiro. 2016. Environmental regulation going retro: Learning foresight from hindsight. Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law 32.

Jonathan B. Wiener and Daniel L. Ribeiro, Impact assessment: Diffusion and integration, in Francesca Bignami and David Zaring, eds. 2016. Comparative Law and Regulation: Understanding the Global Regulatory Process. Edward Elgar.

Mercy B. DeMenno. 2017. Technocracy, democracy, and public policy: An evaluation of public participation in retrospective regulatory review. Regulation & Governance.

Reviewing Retrospective Regulatory Review Bass Connections Project (poster by Edward Balleisen, Jonathan Wiener, Lori Bennear, Elizabeth Brake, Andrea Renda, Anna Johns, Mercy DeMenno, Daniel Ribeiro, Josh Bruce, Sarah Kerman, Jackie Lin, Neelesh Moorthy, Bochen Han, Rishabh Kumar, Nancy Merlin, Alena Sadiq, Kate Baxter)

Reviewing Retrospective Regulatory Review (presentation by Jackie Lin, Neelesh Moorthy and Sarah Kerman at The Edge Lightning Talks) (December 4, 2015)

The Global Diffusion of Regulatory Impact Assessment (session at World Congress on Risk 2015 chaired by Jonathan Wiener, with related presentations from Bass Connections project team research)


Daniel Ribeiro, SJD, Law (May 2018)

Anna Johns Hrom, JD and PhD in History '18

Kate Baxter, History ’17

Sarah Kerman ’18

Daniel Ribeiro, SJD, Law

This Team in the News

These Ph.D. Graduates Incorporated Bass Connections into Their Doctoral Education

Duke Law Faculty and Students Showcase Range of Expertise through Bass Connections Projects

Faculty Perspectives: Jonathan Wiener

Jonathan Wiener on Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Research Residency with OECD Provides Hands-on Experience with Regulatory Policymaking

Three Doctoral Students, Three Perspectives on Government Regulation, One Bass Connections Team

These Ph.D. Graduates Played Key Roles in Their Bass Connections Projects

Meet the Members of the Bass Connections Student Advisory Council

Jonathan Wiener Addresses Climate, Catastrophes, Retrospective Review, TTIP, and China’s Environmental Risk Regulation

Three Bass Connections Alums Named as Kenan Graduate Fellows

Anna Johns, Law ’16

Six Students Receive Grants to Extend Their Bass Connections Research

Participation on the team has enriched my own research project. I have been able to share and discuss the results from my dissertation research (e.g., interviews of regulators from the European Commission and the UK); to produce and compare new analyses; and to learn from the different perspectives and backgrounds of my team members. —Daniel Ribeiro

See earlier related team, Regulatory Disaster Scene Investigation. Additional support for this project was provided by the Silver Family Kenan Institute for Ethics Fund in Support of Bass Connections.

Team Leaders

  • Edward Balleisen, Sanford School of Public Policy|Arts & Sciences-History
  • Lori Bennear, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • Elizabeth Brake, Fuqua School of Business
  • Jonathan Wiener, Duke Law

/graduate Team Members

  • Joshua Bruce, Sociology-PHD, Sociology-AM
  • Mercy DeMenno, Public Policy Studies-PHD
  • Anna Johns, History-AM
  • Daniel Lima Ribeiro, Doctor of Juridical Science, Summer Program

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Rishabh Kumar, Economics (BS), Political Science (AB2)
  • Alena Sadiq, Int Comparative Studies (AB), Public Policy Studies (AB2)
  • Neelesh Moorthy, Economics (BS)
  • Nancy Merlin, Theater Studies (AB)
  • Jackie Lin, Biology (BS)
  • Katherine Baxter, History (AB)
  • Sarah Kerman, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Bo Chen Han, Political Science (AB)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Kimberly Krawiec, Duke Law
  • Amy Pickle, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
  • William Pizer, Sanford School of Public Policy

/zcommunity Team Members

  • US Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
  • NC Office of State Budget and Management
  • Benjamin Waterhouse, UNC-Chapel Hill - Dept. of History