September 2, 2014

Visualizing the Growth of Federal Regulation Since 1950

Patrick McLaughlin

Director of Policy Analytics

Senior Research Fellow Patrick McLaughlin demonstrates the growth of federal regulation in the United States since 1950 by stacking books from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). 

Book stacks for 1950, 1970, and 1990 are represented using the average size volume in 2013, which is roughly 750 pages long. Stack size is calculated by dividing the page count in those years by 750 pages. The data for page counts in the CFR comes from federalregister.gov.

NOTE: The red and black colors do not signify anything relevant to this demonstration. The federal government releases partial updates to the CFR on a quarterly basis and changes the color from one year to the next.