State and Federal Regulatory Reform: A Comparative Analysis

39 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 1999

See all articles by Robert W. Hahn

Robert W. Hahn

Technology Policy Institute; University of Oxford, Smith School

Date Written: November 1998


Like the Federal government, many states are increasingly conscious of the burdens, as well as the benefits, of government regulations. This paper provides a comprehensive assessment of state efforts to eliminate or change burdensome or foolish regulations and to use economic analysis to produce more sensible results. While the approaches differ widely and no generalizations are possible, it is clear that the results have been mixed at best. A number of states claim that improvements in the regulatory process have brought about more effective and less costly regulations, but the analytical support for such claims is often weak. The paper contains a full-scale account of state regulatory reform activities and an assessment of results achieved in four states with particularly ambitious programs of regulatory reform - California, New York, Florida, and Virginia. In general, the review of state reform efforts reveals that efforts are most effective when there is a strong, well-funded, central oversight mechanism with active political support, and when review requirements are clear and provide agencies with specific guidelines. Until significant resources and political support are devoted to reform efforts, however, real-world progress in regulatory reform is not likely to be great.

JEL Classification: H79, L51

Suggested Citation

Hahn, Robert W., State and Federal Regulatory Reform: A Comparative Analysis (November 1998). Available at SSRN: or

Robert W. Hahn (Contact Author)

Technology Policy Institute ( email )

1401 Eye St. NW
Suite 505
Washington, DC 20005
United States

University of Oxford, Smith School ( email )

United Kingdom

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