Reform Timeline Regulatory Impacts References

Number of Regulatory Restrictions

Calculated from the Code of Federal Regulations, the government publication that contains all final federal rules.

  • Mercatus Center, George Mason University: RegData 2.2, 1975-2014 - - Accessed 2/1/2017 and Updated data from RegData 3.0 (to be released in 2017) -

Number of Pages in the Federal Register

#Pages in the Federal Register (1936 - 2014)

  • Regulatory Studies Center, George Washington University - "Reg Stats" - Accessed 2/1/2017

Combined Budget of Federal Agencies

Author's note: "The Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, and the Department of Defense are not included, The Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), while issuing about one-third of all the final regulations published in a typical year, has traditionally been excluded because its regulations have primarily addressed the allocation of entitlements."

  • Susan Dudley & Melinda Warren. "Regulators’ Budget from Eisenhower to Obama. An Analysis of the U.S. Budget for Fiscal Years 1960 through 2017." Regulatory Studies Center, George Washington University and Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Policy, Washington University in St. Louis. May 2016.  Link

Total Annual Cost of Federal Regulations

The annual cost of federal regulations is drawn from third-party academic papers, rather than OMB annual estimates which only cover a fraction of total federal rules. Typically, these third-party approaches include the following* in their cost modeling:

  1. The direct costs of environmental regulations
  2. The direct costs of other social regulations, including consumer safety, nuclear safety, worker health, and worker security and pensions;
  3. The direct costs of economic regulations, which include agricultural, communications, transportation, energy, financial, construction, and international trade regulations;
  4. Transfers stemming from economic regulations, including transfers stimulating exports and agricultural price supports; Transfers are redistributions of resources within society, thereby placing a burden on some groups while benefiting others. For example, agricultural price supports involve a transfer of resources from consumers to farmers. The use of transfer payments in calculating costs is somewhat controversial.
  5. Process costs of paperwork and reporting obligations, based upon the OMB estimate of the number of hours spent on federal paperwork requirements. Hopkins, in his 1991 study, used a formula that multiplies the number of hours to complete all federal paperwork requirements by $20 per hour. Tax forms accounted for about 80 percent of the estimate.

*See page 47 of this GAO report on study methodology.

Dollars used in the timeline are expressed in 2016 dollars. 

  • 1977 - 2000
    • Hopkins, Thomas D. "Regulatory Costs in Profile," Policy Study No. 132, Center for the Study of American Business, (August 1996). Link , PDF 
    • Please note: Reported costs for 1995-2000 were projected estimates, and therefore were not used to support regulatory impact data in the timeline.
  • 1995
    • Thomas D. Hopkins. "Profiles of Regulatory Costs." Report to the U.S. Small Business Administration. U.S. Department of Commerce, National Technical Information Service #PB96 128038, November 1995. Link , PDF
  • 1996
    • Thomas D. Hopkins. "Regulatory Costs in Profile." Policy Study No. 132, Center for the Study of American Business. August 1996. - Link , PDF
  • 2001
    • W. Mark Crain and Thomas D. Hopkins. "The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms." A report prepared for the Small Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy.  RFP No. SBAHQ-00-R-0027. Link , PDF 
  • 2004-2005
    • W. Mark Crain. “The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms." A report prepared for the Small Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy.  Contract no. SBHQ-03-M-0522. September 2005. Link , PDF  
  • 2008
    • Nicole V. Crain and W. Mark Crain. The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms." A report prepared for the Small Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy. Contract number SBAHQ-08-M-0466. September 2010. Link , PDF
  • 2014
    • W. Mark Crain and Nicole V. Crain. "The cost of federal regulations to the U.S. economy, manufacturing, and small business." National Association of Manufacturers. September 10, 2014. Link , PDF
  • Summary and Additional Reading
    • Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. "Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State." Competitive Enterprise Institute. May 4, 2016. Link
    • United States General Accounting Office. "Regulatory Reform. Information on Costs, Cost-effectiveness, and Mandated Deadlines for Regulations." March 1995. Link , PDF
    • Government Publishing Office. "The Cost of Regulation to Small Business." June 6, 2002. Link , PDF .