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Economically Significant Rules

The following dashboard provides a summary of trends in the use of "Economically Significant Rules" (defined below) by major federal departments and agencies by presidential year / party. 

An economically significant rule is defined as a regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: 1) have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; 2) create a "serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; 3) materially alter the budget impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs; 4) raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates (see: Federal Register, Presidential Documents, Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993)

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Economically Significant Rules by Agency 1997-2018

The following cards give users an accessible summary of trends in the use of "Economically Significant Rules" (defined below) by major federal departments and agencies and by presidential year / party. The first dataset (ESR by Agency 1997-2018) presents the nine agencies that have published the most economically significant rules from 1997-2018.  

Agency Breakdown 1997-2018

Economically Significant Rules Breakdown by President

Below, this card represents the aggregate of economically significant rules from 1981 to 2018, as defined by Executive Order 12866: rules that "have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities."


Executive Order 12866, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)



1,788 Economically Significant Rules from 1993-2018


The two agencies that had the most ESR were Health and Human Services (744) and the Environmental Protection Agency (240)


Thus far, Obama had the highest number of ESR at 424.


At the end of a presidential term, there is always a dramatic increase in the number of ESR passed.


While many of the agencies have a steady or increasing trend for ESR, the trend for USDA and EPA is actually decreasing.



  • "Reg Stats" (Regulatory Studies Center, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences and George Washington University)


"The American people deserve a regulatory system that works for them, not against them: a regulatory system that protects and improves their health, safety, environment, and well-being and improves the performance of the economy without imposing unacceptable or unreasonable costs on society; regulatory policies that recognize that the private sector and private markets are the best engine for economic growth; regulatory approaches that respect the role of State, local, and tribal governments; and regulations that are effective, consistent, sensible, and understandable. We do not have such a regulatory system today."

- Executive Order #12866 Regulatory Planning and Review

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