The Science of Government Regulation

EXPERT COMMENTARY

The Science of Government Regulation

By Patrick McLaughlin |
Oct 31, 2012

Since the recession began in 2008, attempts to grow and improve the economy have been studied and hotly debated.Yet one critical component of the economy—regulation—continues to elude measurement. Questions like, "Do regulations kill jobs?" continue to be difficult to answer, because of the lack of metrics available for these rules.

When working with a complex system, whether it's the economy, or even a baseball team, it is important to measure its inputs and components if you want to advance the performance of that system. RegData is a new database that does just that. RegData offers novel metrics of an important and growing input—federal regulation—and takes the first step in using a Moneyball approach to improving the regulatory system. This tool creates statistics based on the actual text in federal regulation, and these statistics are starting to be used by researchers to create a better understanding of the causes and consequences of regulation.

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