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Economic Perspective: State Regulatory Review

Economist Mike Walden


“Today’s program looks at state regulatory review. Mike, most regulations are well meaning, but over the years economists who have studied regulations argue that for some they’re costs can be greater than their benefits. For example, they may impeded necessary change in the economy, and delay important innovations. Is it important therefore that we have regular reviews on regulations?”


“Well many economists think so, and of course in the last couple of years at the federal level we have had some revisions on regulations, some regulations actually cut out. This has primarily been done through executive orders by the President.”

“But here in North Carolina I think, unfortunately, sort of running under the radar, that is, I don’t know that a lot of people know this. In North Carolina, since 2013, over 22,000 state regulations have been undergoing serious review, and they’ve got through about half of those 22,000.”

“Legislatures have made decisions on which ones to keep, which ones to remove, which ones to review and so far of those roughly 11,000 that have been reviewed 62 percent have been kept, 12 percent have been removed, and the remainder, about 26 percent are going to be reviewed and kept only if they are readopted.”

“Another thing North Carolina is doing is they are sunsetting regulations. That is to say, that if a regulation has been on the books for 10 years it’s gonna go away unless there is a review. So this is something that’s been going on in North Carolina for about five years. It’s actually been much more, I think, intense and broad-based than what’s happening at the federal level, and many economists would argue that this is a good thing; to periodic look at those regulations, make sure they’re needed, make sure they’re up to date and we’re doing that in North Carolina.”

Walden is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University who teaches and writes on personal finance, economic outlook and public policy.