Shapiro is an expert on the regulatory process at both the state and federal level. His research focuses on the role that different parts of the process (such as public participation, economic analysis of regulations, and executive and legislative involvement in the review of regulations) play in affecting the substance of regulations. Much of his work has concluded that the process matters much less than who is in power and making decisions. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Shapiro worked for five years at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.
Argues that a simpler analysis of more alternatives conducted earlier in the process can resuscitate it as a tool to inform policy. Offers possible remedies which include intensifying or relaxing subsequent review of proposed rules, which raise the cost of circumventing the reform or lower the cost of following it.
Discusses the failures of four regulatory reform statutes to meaningfully change regulatory policy. By matching the legislative history of these statutes with their actual performance, demonstrates that a lack of true will for regulatory reform in Congress and the presidency has led to loopholes in reform statutes that have subsequently hampered their implementation.
Addresses the question of when different forms of comprehensive analysis (cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment, and environmental impact assessment) make a difference in policy decisions. Finds that law, politics and bureaucracy are the key constraints on analysis and proposes reforms to make analysis more effective.