Visualizing Federal Regulation Growth Since 1950

Patrick McLaughlin visualizes the United States growth of the federal regulation since 1950, see the video here Source: (McLaughlin, 2014). Often regulation growth is seen as a good thing, in which it promotes the common good. Now, at least they are correct in the sense that society requires a small amount of regulation to coordinate economic functioning. “Most of the positive correlations are in areas of regulation that promote property rights and contract enforcement.” (Mackenzie, 2007) However, the level and irrelevance of most regulation that has accumulated account for the majority of taxes and red tape individuals have to pay for. The total costs increases businesses have to deal with is driving out businesses to countries with fairer and lower regulations. “It has been estimated that regulatory compliance and economic impacts cost $1.863 trillion annually.” (Nelson, 2015). The video demonstrates the height and amount of the total regulation published by the Code of Federal Regulations, which is updated on a quarterly basis. The books are roughly 750 pages, and accurately sized to scale of their volume sizes, throughout 1950-2013, you can calculate the stack size by dividing the page counts throughout the years by the 750 pages. See the Federal Register for the data and page counts, Federal Register Document Pages Annual Percentage Change 1976-2013.

Reference List

Mackenzie, D. W. (2007). The growth effects of federal regulation. United States: Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved [15/04/16] from <>.

Nelson, D. Brady. (2015). Government regulation: another hidden tax. United States: Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved [15/04/16] from <>.

Further Reading

Gwartney, J., Holcombe, R., and Lawson, R. (1999). Economic Freedom and the Environment for Economic Growth.  Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics vol 155 (4); pp 643–663. (Download PDF.)

Haan, J. and Siermann, C. (1998). Further Evidence on the Relationship Between Economic Freedom and Economic Growth. Public Choice 95: 363–380.

Featured image supplied from Unsplash.

Copyright © 2016 Zoë-Marie Beesley

Creative Commons License Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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