from Renewing America

Quality Control: Federal Regulation Policy

Progress Report and Scorecard

February 01, 2016



How America Stacks Up: Economic Competitiveness and U.S. Policy compiles all eight Progress Reports and Scorecards from CFR's Renewing America initiative in a single digital collection. Explore the book and download an enhanced ebook for your preferred device. 

Edward Alden

Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow

The number of U.S. regulations—which affect nearly every aspect of Americans' lives, from the food and medicine they consume to the quality of the air they breathe and how they save for retirement—has consistently been on the rise. As a result, U.S. businesses are increasingly burdened, but not competitively disadvantaged, because their peers in other advanced countries tend to face even more regulations, according to a new progress report and scorecard from the Council on Foreign Relations' Renewing America initiative.

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The World Bank consistently ranks the United States as the easiest place to do business among large developed countries. However, the U.S. government could reduce its regulatory burden even further and help its businesses by regularly reviewing and eliminating outdated or ineffective regulations.

Federal Regulation Scorecard

"The system has changed little since the early 1980s and focuses almost exclusively on cost-benefit analysis before regulations are put into place, instead of in hindsight when it is clearer whether a regulation is working," Renewing America Associate Director Rebecca Strauss writes in the report. "As a result, the stock of older regulations accumulates without a good institutionalized process for determining which regulations should be repealed or changed."

In the 1980s, the rest of the world looked to the United States for cutting-edge policies in regulatory management. But since then, others, including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, have taken the lead, implementing systems with regulatory budgets, automatic reviews, and an improved filter for new regulations in order to better manage existing rules. The United Kingdom, for example, uses a regulatory budget or "one-in, two-out" policy, in which two regulations must be eliminated when a new one is added.

This scorecard is part of CFR's Renewing America initiative, which generates innovative policy recommendations on revitalizing the U.S. economy and replenishing the sources of American power abroad. Scorecards provide analysis and infographics assessing policy developments and U.S. performance in such areas as infrastructure, education, international trade, and government deficits. The initiative is supported in part by a generous grant from the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Foundation.

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Corporate Governance


United States

Download the scorecard [PDF].

Table of Contents

Click on a chapter title below to view and download each Progress Report and Scorecard.

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