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.

The information below provides accessible charts and supporting data to better understand disparities and similarities across presidential administrations, and their cumulative approaches to implementing regulatory policy. Our team of policy analysts update these charts on a regular basis as new data are available.  As official reporting on final rules are often not up-to-date, our charts tend to allow for a six-month lag for improved data quality.

If you would like to see us include other data points, or have questions about the information presented here, please email [email protected].

For a list of relevant terminology, click here.

Economically Significant Final Rules Published by Presidential Year

Economically Significant Final Rules Published by Presidential Year (graph)Download the data (CSV)

This graph presents the number of economically significant final rules published each presidential year. Economically significant rules are regulations issued by executive branch agencies that meet the following definition in 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 1st through January 31st) to understand priorities and activities during presidential terms.

Click here for Economically Significant Final Rules Published by Agency

Significant Final Rules Published by Presidential Year

Significant Final Rules Published by Presidential Year

Download the data (CSV)

This graph presents the number of significant final rules published each presidential year. Significant rules (which include economically significant rules) are those regulations that meet one or more of the following definitions in Executive Order 12866: “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 [Executive Order 12866].” We present numbers by “presidential year” (February 1st through January 31st) to understand priorities and activities during presidential terms.

Number of Final Major Rules Published by Presidential Year

Number of Final Major Rules Published by Presidential YearDownload the data (CSV)

This chart presents the number of final major rules published each presidential year. The Congressional Review Act 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.”

Cumulative Economically Significant Final Rules by Administration

Cumulative Economically Significant Final Rules by AdministrationDownload the data (CSV)

This graph tracks the cumulative number of economically significant final regulations published by executive branch agencies under different administrations, during equivalent months in office, from President Reagan to President Trump.

Total Pages Published in the Code of Federal Regulations

Total Pages Published in the Code of Federal Regulations (1950-2018) graphDownload the data (CSV)

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules promulgated by the departments and agencies of the federal government. The number of total pages published in the CFR annually provides a sense of the volume of existing regulations with which American businesses, workers, consumers, and other regulated entities must comply.

Total Pages Published in the Federal Register

Total Pages Published in the Federal Register

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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 or changed regulations issued during a given period. These regulations might increase or decrease regulatory burdens, making this an imperfect—but frequently cited—measure of regulatory burden.

Regulator’s Budget

Regulatory Agency Budget Outlays by Fiscal Year

Regulatory Agency Staffing by Fiscal Year

Download the outlays data (CSV) | Download the staffing data (CSV)

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, these charts 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. The charts distinguish between economic regulation, social regulation, and regulations from the Transportation Security Administration (which has features that differ from other regulatory agencies). Figure 1 reports regulatory agency outlays in billions of constant 2009 dollars, and Figure 2 reports regulatory agency staffing in full-time equivalent (FTE) employment.

 

Active Regulatory Actions in the Unified Agenda

Regulatory Actions Listed in the Unified Agenda

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This graph tracks active actions (both regulatory and deregulatory) published in the semiannual Unified Agenda from Spring 2000 through Fall 2018 including pre-rules, proposed rules, and final rules.