REBOOTING THE RULEBOOK
Argive's mission is to power initiatives that make regulatory processes more accountable and accessible to all. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, we partner with government and the private sector to analyze the impacts of regulations and support data-driven policy.
Regulations are specific rules and instructions created with the intention of protecting our health, safety, and environment. They touch almost every part of our lives, governing the ingredients in our toothpaste to the places we park our cars.
Since our country's founding, the scope of federal regulations has expanded from a few humble rules to 175,000 densely-packed pages of eye-watering legalese. If you were to read the entire Code of Federal Regulations, it would take three years of full-time work - and that’s before you tackled state and local regulations! The nexus of U.S. regulations has grown to contain many overlapping, conflicting, and just plain confusing rules.
Even more concerning, the vast majority of rules are never evaluated for effectiveness. This is partially due to critical gaps in data collection. When policymakers issue new regulations, they rarely include specific ways to measure their effectiveness. The lack of data makes it impossible to determine whether or not rules are achieving their intended goals. Further, dated government websites and mechanisms for public comment are not designed to collect and organize feedback for easy review. Broken lines of communication and poor data on regulatory costs makes capturing policy impacts a daunting and difficult task.
Momentum for Change
As a mounting body of research indicates that over-regulation may have adverse effects on our economic and social well-being, U.S. policymakers are pursuing a regulatory review agenda to identify rules that could be updated or repealed. In 2017, Executive Orders required federal agencies to conduct retrospective review of rules and invite citizens to participate in the process, too. Similar state-based initiatives in Missouri, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Illinois are also underway.
Historically, executive and legislative actions to inspire regulatory accountability have been largely unsuccessful. However, these recent initiatives have potential to improve the regulatory landscape with the right tools and data. By adopting a quantitative approach to measuring and tracking regulation, administrators can build a regulatory infrastructure that is supported by data.
Further, by soliciting citizen feedback on regulations, policymakers gain public trust and can separate beneficial regulations from burdensome red tape. For example, British Columbia’s collection of citizen suggestions helped the Canadian province eliminate ⅔ of its regulatory burden while maintaining superior public health and safety outcomes.
Argive supports initiatives that work to quantify and communicate regulatory impacts. We partner with public and private sector stakeholders to address policy concerns and identify solutions backed by data and public feedback. By encouraging a metric-driven and publicly-supported rulemaking process, we can provide policymakers with resources to confidently craft policy that reflects the public will.