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James Broughel, Mercatus Center: Snapshots of States’ Regulations

September 12, 2017

Mercatus Center research fellow James Broughel joins the show to talk about three new studies using artificial intelligence to speed-read and analyze states’ regulatory codes.

Mercatus Center research fellow James Broughel joins Heartland Institute research fellow Jesse Hathaway to talk about three new studies published by Mercatus, crunching the numbers on states’ codes of regulations and quantifying these tomes’ effects on business owners and taxpayers.

Broughel says the studies used a machine-learning tool known as State RegData, a platform for analyzing and quantifying state regulatory text, developed by Mercatus Center researchers. By scanning states’ codes, RegData extracts information in minutes that would take an ordinary person hours, weeks, or even years to obtain by reading.

Using RegData’s analyses, Broughel says researchers can draw conclusions from the quantified results, such as which industries state regulators target most frequently or which agencies do the most rule-making.

Broughel and Hathaway discuss RegData’s recent scans of Midwestern states’ regulations, and talk about future plans for using RegData to compare every state’s regulatory framework in one handy report.

Jesse Hathaway is a policy advisor for budget and tax issues at The Heartland Institute. @JesseinOH
James Broughel is program manager of the Regulatory Studies Program at the Mercatus Center. Mr. Broughel is a doctoral student in the economics program at George Mason University.