Freedom is supposed to be an all-American value, but it turns out that it varies from state to state, at least according to a new study measuring the impact of federal regulations nationwide.
Researchers at George Mason University's Mercatus Center — a libertarian think tank founded by the Koch brothers — say they analyzed the entire U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, more than 1 million provisions and counting. By measuring each regulation's impact on various industries, then determining those industries' relative importance in each state's economy, the researchers calculated what they call a Federal Regulation and State Enterprise or "FRASE" index for each state, as well as the District of Columbia.
"Although federal regulation applies in the same way in all states, each state's economy includes a unique mix of industries," write authors Patrick McLaughlin and Oliver Sherouse. "As a result, federal policies that target specific sectors of the economy will affect states in different ways."
Of course, the study gives no consideration to the potential benefits of any regulations. The study paints every rule — and their effect — with a single brush. Still, the authors say it is important to quantify the impact because regulations "created and enforced by bureaucrats" have become the government's primary policy vehicle.