Interactive Regulation

University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, Vol. 13, No. 4, 2011

32 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2011

See all articles by Robert C. Bird

Robert C. Bird

University of Connecticut - School of Business

Elizabeth Brown

Bentley University

Date Written: February 17, 2011


Small businesses shoulder significant costs in order to comply with the maze of government regulation that impacts commerce. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) was designed to alleviate that burden by making regulators more accountable in their enforcement of agency mandates. The RFA just celebrated its thirtieth birthday, and one of the most important pieces of business legislation developed during its era has yet to fulfill its promise. This article examines not just the calls for statutory reform but also the motivations and perceptions of the individuals most impacted by business regulation. We propose that while legal reform can be helpful, actions can be taken from both sides of the regulation equation to make the regulatory environment less hostile to small business while still substantially meeting agency goals. The underlying theme is that increased interactivity by both the government and the governed, and not simply statutory reform, will be most effective in bringing the long-delayed potential of the RFA to fruition.

Keywords: administrative law, regulatory flexibilty act, statutory reform

JEL Classification: K23, D73

Suggested Citation

Bird, Robert C. and Brown, Elizabeth A., Interactive Regulation (February 17, 2011). University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, Vol. 13, No. 4, 2011, Available at SSRN:

Robert C. Bird (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - School of Business ( email )

368 Fairfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States


Elizabeth A. Brown

Bentley University ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02145
United States

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