October 1, 2009

Midnight Regulations and the Cinderella Effect

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Recent studies have shown preliminary evidence of a tendency for outgoing administrations to generate a flurry of last-minute regulatory activity. This so-called Cinderella effect is described as resulting from the combination of an administration being in power yet, because it is out-going, not being subject to political ramifications from its actions. In this paper, we look at monthly regulatory activity over the past 30 years and compare the baseline growth in regulations (measured using the proxy of pages in the Federal Register) to the growth immediately following a Presidential election when the sitting President is re-elected, not re-elected, and when the party in control of the White House changes. We find significant evidence supporting the existence of a Cinderella effect.

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