The cost of regulation

The cost of regulation
January 1, 2001


In fiscal year 2000, some 54 federal departments and agencies and over 130,000 federal employees will spend over $18.7 billion writing and enforcing federal regulations.

Center for the Study of American Business

Regulatory Budget Report No. 22

August 1999


The average annual cost of regulation, paperwork, and tax compliance for firms with fewer than 500 employees is about $5,000 per employee. Firms with 20 to 49 employees spend, on average, 19 cents out of every revenue dollar on regulatory costs.

U.S. Small Business Administration


Federal regulations cause $1.5 trillion (in 1999 dollars) in economic output to be lost each year. This is roughly equivalent to the entire economic output of the Mid-Atlantic region: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Richard Vedder

John M. Olin Visiting Professor of Labor Economics and Public Policy

Center for the Study of American Business


Since 1997, the size, scope and cost of the federal regulatory system has returned to pre-1994 levels and once again is increasing at record rates.

15,280 final rules were issued by federal regulatory agencies between April 1, 1996 and September 30, 1999.

220 of those rules were "major", each of which will have an annual effect on the economy of more than $100 million.

Angela Antonelli

The Heritage Foundation

Issues 2000