September 14, 2015

Regulations Kill Jobs, Data Show

James Bailey

Assistant Professor, Providence College

Diana Thomas

Associate Professor of Economics, Creighton University
Summary

Through a novel database tool called RegData, scholars at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University have recently succeeded in measuring regulation by analyzing the 103 million words in the Code of Federal Regulations. They count how many regulatory restrictions apply to each industry and how much more regulated those industries have become over time.

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Has the red tape of regulation been hurting businesses and killing jobs? Most people would guess "yes." It just makes sense that complying with regulation is expensive and can potentially drive some producers out of business. But until now, researchers have found it difficult to test whether the red tape of government regulation actually hurts businesses and kills jobs, because the extent of "regulation" is so difficult to measure. Health care seems more regulated than food service, for example, but how much more?

Through a novel database tool called RegData, scholars at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University have recently succeeded in measuring regulation by analyzing the 103 million words in the Code of Federal Regulations. They count how many regulatory restrictions apply to each industry and how much more regulated those industries have become over time.

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