Duke Law School professors Stuart Benjamin and Arti Rai propose that the Obama administration (or Congress, if Congress is willing) create an Office of Innovation Policy that would draw upon, and feed into, existing regulatory review processes but would have the specific mission of being the “innovation champion” within these processes.
Innovation is central to economic growth and to solving a host of pressing societal challenges. It is therefore critical to ensure that the federal agencies’ actions promote innovation, or at least pursue other social objectives in a manner that is least damaging to innovation. There is no formal process within the executive branch to ensure that this happens, however. In particular, the centralized cost-benefit review performed by OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs generally ignores the impact of agency actions on innovation. A new Office of Innovation Policy would bridge the gap between the traditional business of government and creating innovative leadership within OMB’s review process.