Patrick McLaughlin

Patrick McLaughlin

  • Senior Research Fellow

Patrick A. McLaughlin is a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His research focuses on regulations and the regulatory process, with additional interests in environmental economics, international trade, industrial organization, and transportation economics.

Prior to joining Mercatus, Dr. McLaughlin served as a Senior Economist at the Federal Railroad Administration in the United States Department of Transportation. 

 Dr. McLaughlin has published in the fields of law and economics, public choice, environmental economics, and international trade. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Clemson University.

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Published Research

Patrick McLaughlin, Jerry Ellig, John Morrall | Jun 01, 2013
This paper compares the quality and use of regulatory analysis accompanying economically significant regulations proposed by US executive branch agencies in 2008, 2009, and 2010. We find that the quality of regulatory analysis is generally low, but varies widely.
Jerry Ellig, Patrick McLaughlin | Dec 01, 2011
Using data from the Mercatus Center’s Regulatory Report Card project and statistics on Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review time from reginfo.gov, we examine whether the quality and use of regulatory analysis vary consistently with OIRA actions.
Jerry Ellig, Patrick McLaughlin | Nov 01, 2011
This article assesses the quality and apparent use of regulatory analysis for economically significant regulations proposed by federal agencies in 2008.
Patrick McLaughlin | Aug 01, 2011
I test the level of information regarding possible groundwater contamination in the residential real estate market in Washington County, Minnesota. An approximately seven square-mile trichloroethylene plume has affected hundreds of households’ water supplies since at least 1988 in the region. I find that homeowners were initially well-informed by market forces, but were later somewhat misinformed by government actions regarding the potential of water contamination from the plume. A disclosure law passed in 2003 may have added new, low-cost, and imperfect information to the market that could explain the change in informational awareness.

Working Papers

Patrick McLaughlin, Jerry Ellig, Dima Yazji Shamoun | Mar 18, 2014
As the quantity and scope of regulations in Florida grow, so does the degree to which they affect the economy. In these circumstances, a little reform to the process of creating regulations can go a long way toward crafting an environment that fosters competitiveness and economic efficiency.
Patrick McLaughlin, Richard Williams | Feb 11, 2014
The American regulatory system has no working, systematic process for reviewing regulations for obsolescence or poor performance. Over time, this has facilitated the accumulation a vast stock of regulations. Regulatory accumulation can negatively affect GDP growth, labor productivity, innovation, and safety—perhaps explaining why every president since Jimmy Carter has recognized it as a problem.
Omar Ahmad Al-Ubaydli, Patrick McLaughlin | Oct 15, 2012
RegData is a new database that quantifies federal regulation. RegData offers a novel and objective measure of the accumulation of regulations in the economy overall and for all the different industries in the U.S. RegData uses text analysis to count the number of binding constraints in the text of federal regulations, which are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). In addition, it measures the degree to which different groups of regulations target specific industries.
Patrick McLaughlin, Jerry Ellig | Nov 08, 2010
Most federal agencies must conduct economic analysis when proposing major regulations. This paper uses a new dataset scoring the quality of analysis that accompanied proposed regulations in 2008.

Charts

Policy Briefs

Testimony & Comments

Patrick McLaughlin, Gary D. Leff | Sep 22, 2014
The proposed rule requires sellers of travel to offer information and disclosures in a uniform set of ways, despite a lack of evidence suggesting the specific information contemplated by the proposed rule represents the particular set of facts that each consumer needs to understand for every trip.
Patrick McLaughlin | Feb 11, 2014
In examining the reforms under consideration, first, I will discuss why regulatory accumulation is a public policy problem: regulatory accumulation creates substantial drag on economic growth by impeding innovation and entrepreneurship.
Patrick McLaughlin | Aug 01, 2013
Chairman Blumenthal, Ranking Member Hatch, and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today. I am an economist and senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a 501(c)(3) research, educational, and outreach organization in Arlington, Virginia. My primary research focuses on the regulatory process and how it could be improved, so I am delighted to testify on today’s topic.
Patrick McLaughlin | Apr 23, 2009
Research Fellow Patrick McLaughlin presents his ideas on the economics of mandating benefits for H-2B workers to the members of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the U.S. House Oversight and…

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Media Clippings

Expert Commentary

Aug 18, 2014

This week, a new version — RegData 2.0 — will be available for use, and it's no longer just for researchers. RegData 2.0 can provide insights on the regulatory climate for anyone with a more than casual interest in regulations and public policy.
Aug 18, 2014

Today, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University launched the latest version of RegData, a tool created by Patrick McLaughlin and Omar Al-Ubaydli that improves the way we measure the size and scope of federal regulations.
Jul 08, 2014

Washington, D.C. cabbies recently put together a slow-moving taxi caravan in protest of disruptive transportation services Uber and Lyft, claiming that existing transportation regulations need to be applied to these novel services.
Jun 12, 2014

The White House's Office of Management and Budget recently released a draft of its annual report to Congress on the costs and benefits of regulations. In this routine exercise, which inevitably claims extensive benefits of regulation, the OMB couches its estimates within a sizeable list of caveats.

RegData

Contact

Patrick McLaughlin

Books

Podcasts

Patrick McLaughlin, Michael Leland | August 12, 2014
In this episode, Patrick McLaughlin joins Mike Leland to discuss his new project, RegData, and how it can help measure the impact of regulations, like occupational licensing and those Uber and Lyft are confronting, in states.
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