November 3, 2014

Anecdote Of Note: Federal Regulations Cost The American Economy And Its Consumers

In a column this week, MSCI partner John Dunham and Associates (JDA) reminded readers of a 2013 study in the Journal of Economic Growth that estimated the total cost of U.S. regulations over the last century. In a guest column for the Monthly Manifesto, JDA’s monthly newsletter, Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow Patrick A. McLaughlin reported that study “found that between 1949 and 2005 the accumulation of federal regulations slowed US economic growth by an average of 2 percent per year” and that if the the amount of regulation had “remained at its 1949 level, 2011 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would have been about $39 trillion—or three and a half times—higher, which translates into a loss of about $129,300 for every person in the United States.” 

The Mercatus Center has also worked to assess the cost of U.S. regulations on American consumers, noting “total regulatory restrictions have increased nearly 20 percent since 1997 to more than 1 million.” 

Meanwhile, this week the Center for Regulatory Studies (CRS) questioned how beneficial many of these regulations have been. For example, arguing ozone can worsen asthma the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tightened air standards for ozone. CRS reports that, despite these efforts, the number of cases of asthma has grown despite the stricter regulations. To learn more about EPA ozone regulations and their economic impact, read the National Association of Manufacturers’ recent study, found here