March 20, 2014

Regulatory Cost Calculator

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About the Mercatus Center's Regulatory Cost Calculator

Regulation creates costs for businesses, customers, local governments, and other regulated entities. The Mercatus Center’s Regulatory Cost Calculator is a practical tool designed to generate better data on the anticipated costs of individual proposed regulations before they become final regulations. Government regulatory analysts can use the Cost Calculator to elicit better information about the expected costs of regulations. Stakeholders can use the Cost Calculator to provide accurate and credible estimates of the costs of proposed regulations to regulators, legislators and their staffs, the media, and the public policy community.

Costs of regulation include:

  • Direct expenditures on compliance, such as paperwork, new equipment, or employee training;
  • The value of owner, manager, or employee time diverted to regulatory compliance;
  • Profit forgone on investments the business no longer makes as it is forced to divert resources to regulatory compliance;
  • The profit businesses lose and the value consumers lose from the price increases, quality changes, or other sales-reducing behavioral responses induced by regulation;
  • The costs of resources that businesses and trade associations expend to influence regulation.

These costs are not always explicit or obvious, because some of them involve lost opportunities rather than expenditures. The purpose of the Cost Calculator is to provide better information on the full cost of regulation by identifying both direct and indirect costs and eliciting information that economists can use to estimate the cost of regulation to customers and our broader society.

Download the Regulatory Cost Calculator

Click here to download the Regulatory Cost Calculator.

Related Mercatus Center Resources

Other Tools to Help You Comment

Mercatus Center Public Interest Comments
Mercatus Center Public Interest Comments address the efficiency and efficacy of various rules from an economic point of view. Specifically, they examine how the rules may be improved by more closely examining the societal goals the rules intend to achieve and whether the proposed regulations will successfully achieve those goals.

Mercatus Center Regulatory Report Card
The Mercatus Center's Regulatory Report Card is an in depth evaluation of the quality of regulatory analysis agencies conduct for major executive branch regulations.
Report Card graders include Antony Dnes, Jerry Ellig, Michael Marlow, Patrick McLaughlin, John Morrall, Sean Mulholland, and Todd Nesbit

RegData is the first tool to allow for industry-specific quantification of federal regulation, permitting within-industry and between-industry analyses of the causes and effects of federal regulations.
Developed by Patrick A. McLaughlin and Omar Al-Ubaydli

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