More On Jobs And Regulation

Posted by | September 23, 2011 02:45 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

I’ve blogged on this subject enough times (for example here and here) to sound like a broken record (you may need to ask your parents what a record is).  But here is a perspective that discusses the subject with thoughtfulness (and most of those quoted are Republicans):

“It would be easy to think of a regulation that ‘created jobs’ that didn’t benefit society,” [Bush 41 White House regulatory chief Susan] Dudley said via email, such as “requiring that all construction be done with a teaspoon.”

In other words, counting jobs gained or lost is too narrow a prism through which to evaluate whether a regulation is good or bad. The real question is whether it improves waterways or lengthens lives or protects the public as promised.

“The issue in regulation always should be whether it delivers benefits that justify the cost,” said [Stanford’s Roger] Noll. “The effect of regulation on jobs has nothing to do with the mess we’re in. The current rhetoric about regulation killing jobs is nothing more than not letting a good crisis go to waste.

Bingo.  Saying that regulation kills jobs is at best oversimplification and at worst, wrong.  It is not even the right question to ask.  Regulations have significant and complicated effects.  Each one needs to be evaluated on its own for whether the gains in public health and safety justify the costs that the regulation imposes.


Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

Leave a Reply