Competition Can Be Good For Regulators Too
The Business Roundtable (BRT) just released a new report that documents how overlapping regulatory jurisdiction can be a real impediment to innovation and economic growth. But it would be a mistake to conclude that national regulatory uniformity is always the best solution for either businesses or consumers.
BRT’s report, Reducing Regulatory Overlap in the 21st Century, argues that fragmentation, overlap and duplication among U.S. regulators not only impose unproductive and unnecessary costs on business but can hinder achievement of regulatory goals. After documenting regulatory overlap in the food, surface transportation, and finance sectors, the report offers recommendations for making the federal regulatory system more effective at meeting regulatory objectives while minimizing economic costs.
Regulatory overlap isn’t just a problem for regulated parties; as the Government Accountability Office has observed, redundant regulatory review can prove cumbersome for regulators and consumers, as well. Indeed, while BRT’s report focuses on business costs, consumers ultimately shoulder the bulk of those costs through higher prices or fewer product or service options. BRT’s recommendations focus largely on streamlining and consolidating regulatory processes; these are valid objectives which should lower regulatory compliance burdens and free up resources for more productive uses. But counterintuitively, other approaches that purposefully embrace regulatory variation could also encourage experimentation that benefits innovators and consumers and enhances social welfare.