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Federal regulation and aggregate economic growth

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  • John Dawson
  • John Seater

Abstract

We introduce a new time series measure of the extent of federal regulation in the U.S. and use it to investigate the relationship between federal regulation and macroeconomic performance. We find that regulation has statistically and economically significant effects on aggregate output and the factors that produce it—total factor productivity (TFP), physical capital, and labor. Regulation has caused substantial reductions in the growth rates of both output and TFP and has had effects on the trends in capital and labor that vary over time in both sign and magnitude. Regulation also affects deviations about the trends in output and its factors of production, and the effects differ across dependent variables. Regulation changes the way output is produced by changing the mix of inputs. Changes in regulation offer a straightforward explanation for the productivity slowdown of the 1970s. Qualitatively and quantitatively, our results agree with those obtained from cross-section and panel measures of regulation using cross-country data. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • John Dawson & John Seater, 2013. "Federal regulation and aggregate economic growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 137-177, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:18:y:2013:i:2:p:137-177
    DOI: 10.1007/s10887-013-9088-y
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regulation; Macroeconomic performance; Economic growth; Productivity slowdown; E20; L50; O40;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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