Mercatus Center: regulations have made Americans significantly poorer since 1980

Washington, D.C. George Mason University. Economic scholars at the Mercatus Center have completed a wide-ranging study of the impact of government regulations on the economy. Using a 22-industry dataset that covers 1977 through 2012, the Mercatus scholars determined that the United States is now significantly poorer because of all the regulations placed on the economy since 1980.

Economic growth in the United States has, on average, been slowed by 0.8 percent per year since 1980 owing to the cumulative effects of regulation. This cumulative drag on the economy has made the US economy about 25 percent poorer than it would have otherwise been as of 2012, according to the professors.

“This means that in 2012, the economy was $4 trillion smaller than it would have been in the absence of regulatory growth since 1980.This amounts to a loss of approximately $13,000 per capita, a significant amount of money for most American workers.”

The three professors who did most of the work on the study were Duke University economics professor Bentley Coffey, Mercatus Senior Research Fellow Patrick A. McLaughlin, and Duke University economics professor Pietro Peretto.

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