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Category Archives: Legal Research

RegData is an innovative new way of measuring the size and scope of US federal regulation

RegData [beta], developed by Patrick A. McLaughlin, Omar Al-Ubaydli, and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, improves dramatically on the existing methods used to quantify regulations. Previous efforts to assess the extent of regulation in the United States have used imprecise variables such as the number of pages published in the Federal Register or the number of new rules created annually. However, not all regulations are equal in their effects on the economy or on different sectors of the economy. One page of regulatory text is often quite different from another page in content and consequence. RegData improves upon existing metrics of regulation in three principal ways:

  1. RegData provides a novel measure that quantifies regulations based on the actual content of regulatory text. In other words, RegData examines the regulatory text itself, counting the number of binding constraints or “restrictions”—words that indicate an obligation to comply, such as “shall” or “must.” This is important because some regulatory programs can be hundreds of pages long with relatively few restrictions, while others only have a few paragraphs with a relatively high number of restrictions.
  2. RegData quantifies regulation by industry. It uses the same industry classes as the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), which categorizes and describes each industry in the US economy. Using industry-specific quantifications of regulation, users can examine the growth of regulation relevant to a particular industry over time or compare growth rates across industries. There are several potential uses of a tool that measures regulation relevant to specific industries. Both the causes and consequences of regulation are likely to differ from one industry to the next, and by quantifying regulations for all industries, individuals can test whether industry characteristics, such as dynamism, unionization, or a penchant for lobbying, are correlated with industry-specific regulation levels. For example, if someone wanted to know whether high unionization rates are correlated with heavy regulation, the person could compare RegData’s measure of industry-specific regulation for highly unionized industries to industries with little to no unionization.
  3. *NEW* RegData 2.0 provides the user with the ability to quantify the regulation that specific federal regulators (including agencies, offices, bureaus, commissions, or administrations) have produced. For example, a user can now see how many restrictions a specific administration of the Department of Transportation (e.g., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has produced in each year.”

CDD Files Complaint on U.S./EU Safe Harbor for Data Privacy at FTC

Filing Reveals Failure of U.S. Agreement to Protect European Privacy - “The key framework that is supposed to protect EU citizens’ privacy when their data is collected by U.S. companies—known as the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor—is failing to provide them the safeguards that were promised, according to a complaint filed today by a leading U.S. consumer privacyContinue Reading

A Broader View of the Cathedral: The Significance of the Liability Rule, Correcting a Misapprehension

Calabresi, Guido, A Broader View of the Cathedral: The Significance of the Liability Rule, Correcting a Misapprehension (August 15, 2014). Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 77, No. 2, 2014. Available for download at SSRN: “Recent years have seen a resurgence of Torts viewed as a purely private legal arrangement: whether described in terms of compensatoryContinue Reading

The Next Generation of Trade and Environment Conflicts: The Rise of Green Industrial Policy

Wu, Mark and Salzman, James, The Next Generation of Trade and Environment Conflicts: The Rise of Green Industrial Policy (August 15, 2014). Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 108, No. 2, 2014. Available for download at SSRN: “A major shift is transforming the trade and environment field, triggered by governments’ rising use of industrial policiesContinue Reading

New on LLRX – Case Law in an Era of Heightened Scrutiny

Via - Case Law in an Era of Heightened Scrutiny - Ken Strutin’s documents the scope of sources that encompass a critical issue that has recently repeatedly surfaced in mass media and the legal press – the fact that judicial decisions are believed to embody legal reasoning, societal values and support the foundations of our legal system. ForContinue Reading

ABA Draft Report on Stand Your Ground Laws

American Bar Association National Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws, Preliminary Report and Recommendations, August 8, 2014. “This report represents the culmination of the Task Force’s analysis of a substantial compilation of information: testimony from experts and stakeholders received at five regional hearings, extensive legal research on each jurisdiction’s self-defense regime, quantitative assessments ofContinue Reading

Investigative Report into the lucrative world of debt collection

Jack Halpern, New York Times Magazine: Paper Boys: Inside the Dark, Labyrinthine, and Extremely Lucrative World of Consumer Debt Collection: ‘From 2006 to 2009, … the nation’s top nine debt buyers purchased almost 90 million consumer accounts with more than $140 billion in ‘face value.’ And they bought at a steep discount. On average, they paidContinue Reading

Cell Phone Guide For US Protesters, Updated 2014 Edition

EFF: “With major protests in the news again, we decided it’s time to update our cell phone guide for protestors. A lot has changed since we last published this report in 2011, for better and for worse. On the one hand, we’ve learned more about the massive volume of law enforcement requests for cell phone—ranging from location informationContinue Reading

Defense Department military equipment distributed free to states around the country

New York Times – “Most U.S. counties have received at least some military equipment through a free Pentagon surplus program.” See also Tools of War in Counties Across the U.S. – “State and local police departments, like the one in Ferguson, Mo., get some of their military-style equipment through a free Defense Department program created in the early 1990s. BelowContinue Reading

Help Celebrate 103rd birthday of Eldest Surviving Civil Rights Activist, Amelia Boynton­ Robinson

Aug. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ - “Amelia Boynton ­Robinson, the oldest of the surviving veterans of the 1965 Selma, Alabama Civil Rights Movement, will celebrate her 103 birthday this coming August 18. Still completely mentally alert and combative, Boynton­Robinson states that not only does she intend to attend the 50th anniversary commemoration of the passage of the VotingContinue Reading

Research Finally Revealed – Chemical Ingredient in Colgate Total Linked to Cancer

Bloomberg – “The chemical triclosan has been linked to cancer-cell growth and disrupted development in animals. Regulators are reviewing whether it’s safe to put in soap, cutting boards and toys. Consumer companies are phasing it out. Minnesota voted in May to ban it in many products. At the same time, millions of Americans are putting it in their mouths everyContinue Reading

NSA’s Internet Metadata Program Was Sharply Criticized By FISA Judges – EPIC

“Documents Obtained by EPIC Lawsuit Show NSA’s Internet Metadata Program Was Sharply Criticized By FISA Judges While Congressional Oversight Lagged for Year: In a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Justice, EPIC has obtained many documents about the NSA’s Internet Metadata program. These include the Government’s original FISA application seeking authorization to collect data from millions of e-mails, as wellContinue Reading