The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection doesn’t seem to care much for cost-benefit analysis. But it’s worth remembering that the idea (much cherished by Carter-era scholars of regulation) lay at the heart of the FTC’s 1980 Unfairness Policy Statement:
Second, the injury must not be outweighed by any offsetting consumer or competitive benefits that the sales practice also produces. Most business practices entail a mixture of economic and other costs and benefits for purchasers. A seller’s failure to present complex technical data on his product may lessen a consumer’s ability to choose, for example, but may also reduce the initial price he must pay for the article. The Commission is aware of these tradeoffs and will not find that a practice unfairly injures consumers unless it is injurious in its net effects. The Commission also takes account of the various costs that a remedy would entail. These include not only the costs to the parties directly before the agency, but also the burdens on society in general in the form of increased paperwork, increased regulatory burdens on the flow of information, reduced incentives to innovation and capital formation, and similar matters.