Reg Stats

The effects of regulation -- both benefits and costs -- are difficult to measure, particularly when considered in the aggregate. As a result, analysts often turn to indirect proxies to understand the reach and impact of regulations over time. Some of the statistics used to track aggregate regulatory activity over time are presented here.

Table of Contents:

Economically Significant Rules Issued under Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama

Benefits and Costs of Regulations

Fall 2017 Unified Agenda (2000 - 2017)

Economically Significant Regulations Issued Each Year

Congressional Resolutions of Disapproval (CRA Tracker)

Economically Significant Rules Published by Presidential Year, Final Quarters

Economically Significant Rules Published Across Administrations, Equivalent Periods

Major Rules Published (1996 - 2016)

Pages in the Federal Register (1936 - 2017)

Average Length of Review for Regulations

Total Pages in the Code of Federal Regulations (1936 - 2016) Signficant Regulations issued by Presidential Year

The Regulators' Budget

Effects of 2013 Government Shutdown on Regulation


Econ sig rules

Economically Significant Rules Issued by Select Government Agencies under Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama

This graph shows the volume of economically significant rules issued by select executive agencies under the administrations of Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama. It also illustrates a breakdown of these rules by agency as a percentage of their cumulative regulatory output.

Additional graphs showing regulatory output by agency are also available here.

Download data.

Unified Agenda contents over time (2000-2017)Fall 2017 Unified Agenda (2000 - 2017)

Updated with newly released data from the Fall 2017 Unified Agenda, this graph tracks active regulation counts from Spring 2000 through Fall 2017, breaking active regulations into three categories of final rules, proposed rules, and pre-rules.  Download data




CRA trackerCRA Tracker -  Download in (PDF) (Excel)

Using the database at, this graph tracks the current status of Congress' disapproval of rules under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) for regulations issued by federal agencies. Prior to 2017, only a single rule had been nullified since the CRA was enacted by Congress in 1996.




Cumulative Number of Economically Significant RulesEconomically Significant Rules Published Across Administrations, Equivalent Periods

Using the database at to track the volume of regulations published during their time in office, this graph tracks Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama's volume of regulations published during their time in office and overlays them with President Trumps’s pace for regulatory output through January of 2018.   Download Data



Economically Significant Rules Published by Presidential Year, Final Quarters

This graph shows a comparision of the last quarter of every President’s time in office, which we define here as the Midnight quarter, and compare these to other non-Midnight quarters to illustrate the level of increase in regulatory output across administrations. Download Data



Pages in the federal registerPages in the Federal Register (1936 - 2017)

The number of pages in the Federal Register—the daily journal of the federal government in which all newly proposed rules are published along with final rules, executive orders, and other agency notices—provides a sense of the flow of new regulations issued during a given period and suggests how the regulatory burden will grow as Americans try to comply with the new mandates. Download Data



Pages in the CFRTotal Pages in the Code of Federal Regulations (1975 - 2016)

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of all rules and regulations promulgated by federal agencies. Its size (which has grown from 71,224 pages in 1975 to 178,277 at the end of 2015) provides a sense of the scope of existing regulations with which American businesses, workers, and consumers must comply. The federal government tracks the number of pages and volumes in the CFR each year. Download Data



Regulators' BudgetThe Regulators' Budget

The Regulators’ Budget tracks the direct fiscal budget expenditures and agency staff devoted to regulatory activity.  By analyzing the federal personnel and expenses necessary to develop and enforce regulations, we can track regulatory trends over time. These data, developed by the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center and the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy at Washington University in St. Louis, provide insight into the composition and evolution of regulation from 1960 to the present.



Benefits and Costs of Regulations

Agencies often estimate the Benefits and Costs of Regulations individually before they are issued.  Two federal agencies use different methods to estimated regulatory benefits and costs in the aggregate.  The Office of Management and Budget reports to Congress each year on the benefits and costs of major regulations issued over the preceding 10 years. The Small Business Office of Advocacy estimates the total cost of regulation, and the relative burden born by small entities.

This graph is based on the GW Regulatory Studies Center's analysis of OMB data.


Economically Significant Final Rules Economically Significant Regulations Issued Each Year

Economically significant rules, as presented in this graph, are regulations issued by executive branch agencies that meet the definition in Section 3(f)(1) of Executive Order 12866 (“have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities.”  We present numbers by "presidential year" (February 1 to January 31) to understand priorities and activities during presidential terms. Download Data


Significant rules by presidential yearSignificant Regulations Issued by Presidential Year

“Significant regulations (which include economically significant regulations),”as defined by Executive Order 12866, are those that may “create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President’s priorities, or the principles set forth in this Executive order.” We graph numbers of rules by "presidential year" (February 1 to January 31) to understand priorities and activities during presidential terms. Download Data


Major rules publishedMajor Rules Published

The Government Accountability Office reports on "major" rules published. The Congressional Review Act, passed in 1996, defines a major rule as "one that has resulted in or is likely to result in (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, or innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets."  Download Data


Average Length of Review for Regulations 

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviews draft proposed and final regulations to ensure they comply with theregulatory principles stated in Presidential Executive Orders and reflect the President’s policies and priorities. E.O. 12866 established a 90 day period for review, but authorized the rulemaking agency head to request, or the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director to approve, extensions of review beyond 90 days (E.O. 12866 Section 6(b)(2)(c). Figure 1 shows the average length of review for regulations concluded in each year. Figure 2 shows the action by which OIRA concluded review. 
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Average Review Time for Regulations


Review Counts by Conclusion Action

Effects of the 2013 Government Shutdown on Federal Regulatory Activity

The 2013 government shutdown (October 1 – October 17) had visible effects on the regulatory activities of federal agencies. On September 30, the day before the shutdown, The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) published a notice announcing procedures for publishing government documents – such as proposed rules, final rules, and agency notices – in the absence of government funding, stating: “In the event of an appropriations lapse, the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) would be required to publish documents directly related to the performance of governmental functions necessary to address imminent threats to the safety of human life or protection of property.” OFR left the decision as to which documents were “necessary” for these purposes to federal agencies. The two figures to the right represent the effect of the shutdown on federal regulatory activities. Figure 1 shows activity in the Federal Register from August 1st through November 1st. The vertical lines at October 1st and October 17th mark the beginning and end of the government shutdown. Figure 2 illustrates the decline in the number of proposed rules, final rules and “significant” documents published. Download Data


Other Resources